My Dad - My Hero
Posted Friday, August 7, 2020 09:02 AM

I believe my dad was one of Raleigh's finest citizens and I only wish that I could be half the man he was. He was a wonderful loving father and everyone that knew him also loved and respected him. Dr. Wesley (Wes) E. Kelley DDS grew up in a Christian family of 3 brothers and one sister in the small midwestern town of Madison, SD. His mom and dad ran the Kelley Brothers Grocery Store there and he started working at an early age helping out in the store. He continued to work there until he graduated from high school and went on to graduate from the Univ. of South Dakota. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and worked his way through school. He went on to study medicine at Creighton University in Omaha, NE and the Univ. of Minnesota for before he joined the US Army during WWII. He went to Army OCS and graduated as a second lieutenant at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. Since he had had medical training , the army made him an instructor of medics who after graduation went to the front lines in Europe and the Pacific. He met my mother while he was stationed at Warner Robbins Army Air Force Base which is near Macon, GA where she and her family lived.  He was promoted to captain before he left the service. After the war, he decided he wanted to be a dentist instead of a medical doctor so he finished school on the GI Bill at the Univ. of Kansas City Dental School where his best friend was Barbara Kistler's dad, Dr. Chuck Kistler.  My family left South Dakota when I was eight years old and moved to Raleigh where Chuck had a dental practice. Chuck had asked my dad to join his practice at his office across the street from Broughton High on St. Mary's St.  Later my dad opened his own office in Ridgewood Shopping Center and several years later in a new doctor's office complex at Glenwood Professional Village next to Glenwood Village Shopping Center at Glenwood Ave. and Oberlin Rd.

As a child, I remember several people approaching my dad on the street and asking him for money. He never questioned them as to why they needed it, only as to how much they needed. And he never turned them down. My dad belonged to the West Raleigh Rotary Club for more than 30 years. He served as president several times. Rotary Clubs are famous for all that they do for people around the world. All the Raleigh Rotary Clubs made a great impact on improving people's lives in the Triangle Area. He was active in the NC Dental Association. Dad was a member of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew at Good Shepard Episcopal Church for more than 30 yrs. It was another organization that improved the lives of many in Wake Co. He served as president of the Raleigh Rescue Mission which was responsible for helping thousands of men and women that were down and out, alcoholics, drug addicts or homeless get their lives back together in a loving Christian based atmosphere. He worked tirelessly helping people all over Raleigh. Once a week his went to Central Prison to minister to prisoners. Once a week his went to Dorothea Dix Hospital to spend time ministering to patients there. Every night he read his Bible and prayed. Needless to say, my mom was jealous because he spent so much time helping others and she wanted him to be at home. After dad retired from his full time practice, he formed a group of dentists called The Kelley Boys. They were retired dentists that would fill in for other Raleigh dentists who were either on vacation, or sick. He continued to work until he was 80 and passed away at the age of 87. I couldn't have asked for a more wonderful dad or a better role model.