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Karl E. Kelley
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Obituary for Karl E. Kelley

Karl Kelley, 68, formerly of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, passed away suddenly on July 20, 2017 at his home in Ames, Iowa. A graveside service will be held at Oak Shade Cemetery in Marion, Iowa at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 25, followed by a memorial service at 2:00 p.m. at Adams Funeral Home 502 Douglas Avenue, Ames, Iowa.
Karl was born August 16, 1948 to Harry E. and Kathryn L. (Kendall) Kelley in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He grew up in Cedar Rapids and attended 1st Congregational Church, Kenwood Elementary, Franklin Junior High, and graduated in 1966 from Washington High School. Karl was raised by a family of teachers--his grandmother, Olive Kendall, had a degree from Iowa State Teachers College, and both parents had masters degrees--his father was a biologist. They instilled in him a love of learning, research, problem solving and fact gathering. He went to Iowa State University for his undergraduate studies and received a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1970. Karl then pursued a Masters degree in Computer Science at ISU.
Karl started working with ISU in information technology in 1971 and spent 46 years as an expert in operating systems, Linux software, and programming. In Karl’s time at ISU he worked behind the scenes to ensure the success of many key information technology initiatives. At the time of his passing he held the position of Senior Systems Analyst.
Colleagues remember Karl as an intelligent individual with an incredible memory. Karl had the ability to absorb and understand complex computer code, manuals, and documentation and apply that knowledge to resolve difficult problems. Karl will be greatly missed at ISU as both a friend and colleague.
His family will remember Karl for his patience, kindness, thoughtfulness, sense of humor, Rubik's Cube puzzle mastery and love of music. While still in high school, he built an organ from periodic shipments of Heath kits. He played clarinet in the high school band. Karl enjoyed problem solving and figuring out how things worked. He purchased his first car with money earned from summer jobs, and worked on it himself when it needed repair. Karl was 14 when his father passed away, and so he often helped his little sister learn... he helped her with her first science project (constructing a light board), explained how to solve mathematical problems in different ways and also introduced her to many different types of music. He was especially patient in teaching her how to drive a car with manual transmission.
Karl is survived by his sister Sue (Sam) Benjamin, niece Sarah Albers (Brandon), nephew Matt Albers, great-niece Zoey Schmidt and great-nephew Owen Hirman. He was preceded in death by his parents.
Memorials may be directed to the Iowa State University Foundation.

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Previous Events

Graveside Service




10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Oak Shade

789 2nd Ave
Marion, IA 52302

Memorial Service




2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Adams Funeral Home & Cremation Service

502 Douglas Avenue
Ames, IA 50010


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