Cover photo for Diane Shirley Kelley's Obituary
Diane Shirley Kelley Profile Photo
1946 Diane 2023

Diane Shirley Kelley

September 26, 1946 — February 22, 2023



Diane Shirley Kelley, 76, of Atkins, Arkansas, found eternal peace on Wednesday, February 22, 2023. She was born in Rochester, New York, to William and Ruth Flagler on September 26, 1946. Her father was a pilot in the Air Force so she had the opportunity to live in many places throughout her young life, including California, Delaware, Hawaii, and even Japan.

Following in her father, her older brother, and even her twin brother's footsteps, after graduating from high school she joined the United States Army and served her country honorably during the Vietnam War. It was in the military that she would meet the love of her life and future husband, William Michael “Mike” Kelley.

After raising her three daughters she began a career within the Atkins School District. She started as a substitute teacher, filling in where needed, and eventually spending over two decades as an aide in a special education classroom, loving on and taking deep care of a multitude of kids she considered her own. She was a diligent member of the Atkins High School Band Boosters for almost two decades, and she formed lifelong friendships while doing so. For over 15 years, she dedicated every Friday night of Red Devil football season to delivering cookies, cakes, and other treats (along with several gallons of milk) to the entire team and coaching staff. This tradition was coveted and something each up and coming class looked forward to from Mrs. Kelley, the biggest Red Devil fan most knew.

She thoroughly enjoyed reading, making sure the hummingbirds had food all spring long, vanilla fudge (but only from Branson), Irish River Dancing, listening to Trans Siberian Orchestra during every Christmas season, proudly sporting her San Francisco 49ers gear on Sundays, and making sure to watch every Arkansas Razorback game, no matter the sport. Her deepest love was spending time with her family, especially her great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Mike Kelley; twin brother, David Flagler, whom she was so grateful to have reconnected with after over 40 years apart; brother, Bill Flagler; nephew, Keith Dooley; and son-in-law, Jimmy Starr.

She is survived by: bonus daughter, Belinda Shelton; daughters, Michele Story (Roger), Sherry Roberson (Clifford), and Lori Kelley; grandchildren, David Starr, Michael Starr, Kayla Fletcher, Jeremiah Starr (Victoria), Preston Smith, Hailey Kendrick (Taylor), Stephen Fletcher, and Desha Tinerella; great-grandchildren, Elijah Fletcher, Jeremiah Starr Jr., Finn Starr, Kennedy Fletcher, Eva Starr, Piper Bobo, Quinn Starr, Caroline Kendrick, and Winston Kendrick; sister-in-law, Jayne Dooley (Don); nieces Kim King (Billy Paul) and Sasha Souza; great-nephew, Braden Butler; extended family, Jimmy, Robin, and Shayna Marple. Diane also leaves behind an incredible host of beloved former students and staff of the Atkins School District.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Atkins First Baptist Church on Friday, March 3rd, from 10:00am-12:00pm, and will be a “come and go” service for visiting with the family and sharing stories of Diane.

Full military honors will be presented at the end of the celebration.

Arrangements are under the direction of Russellville Family Funeral.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the account of Diane Kelley at Russellville Family Funeral.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Diane Shirley Kelley, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Friday, March 3, 2023

10:00am - 12:00pm (Central time)

Atkins First Baptist Church

201 N Church Street, Atkins, AR 72823

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