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Kelleys remembered after fatal crash

Robin and Don Kelley, owners of Kelley Gallery in Hudson, pictured here at their wedding, were killed in a one-vehicle crash in Polk County on Saturday, Oct. 27. The two are remembered in the community for their loving, caring personalities. Submitted photo

Hudson Kelley Gallery owner Don Kelley had never been happier than when he was with his wife, Robin.

Don and Robin were soulmates, his sister Barb Kelley McNamee said.

When the two married, they combined their lives and their families, including Don's three children Blake, Monica and Rachel Kelley and Robin's daughters Riley and Reena Penkwitz.

"He lived his life for those kids," McNamee said.

Don and Robin were killed in a one-vehicle crash Saturday, Oct. 27 in Polk County. Don was 60, and Robin was 54.

"Them going together was a blessing," McNamee said.

According to a Polk County Sheriff's Office news release, the dispatch center received a Sirius XM notification at 10:46 p.m. Oct. 27 that the airbags in the Kelley's 2017 Jaguar had deployed on U.S. Highway 8, east of the State Highway 46 intersection.

Deputies found the vehicle on its roof on the north side of Highway 8. The car, traveling eastbound, appeared to have crossed the westbound lanes, entered the north ditch and struck a property access drive before becoming airborne and striking several trees.

Don and Robin were pronounced dead by responding EMS personnel.

The crash is being investigated by the Polk County Sheriff's Office and Polk County

Medical Examiner's Office.

Many in the Hudson community and beyond shared tributes to Don and Robin on Facebook, remembering their love for each other and support for friends, family and neighbors.

All the messages shared show the impact the two had on the community.

"He was larger than life," McNamee said of Don. "He held a lot of people together."

Kate Rose Swiontek knew Don and Robin through her grandparents, who were close friends with Don and Robin.

"No matter what he was doing, he loved to chat and catch up and would help anyone who needed it. He always went on and on about his kids and how proud he was of them," Swiontek said of Don. "He was an amazing friend to our family and I will never forget him."

Robin became a quick friend of the family, Swiontek said, and she loved the person she was.

"She would remember the little things mentioned, even in passing conversation, and use those little things to make someone's day brighter," Swiontek said.

Kelley Gallery employees remembered the kind and caring boss that Don was.

The gallery started in 1985 when Don teamed up with his father Ed Kelley on a business adventure, focusing on not only customer service and craftsmanship, but on community as well. The business also has a gallery in Woodbury, with its production center in Roberts.

Don continued the adventure after his father died in 2012.

Working for Don was like working with family, a statement from Kelley Gallery employees said. He cared about his employees, asking them about their lives and how they were doing.

"We feel grateful to have worked alongside him," the statement read. "He was a joy to work with, and we will forever miss him and Robin."

A visitation for Don and Robin will be held 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1 at O'Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson. Combined services will be Friday, Nov. 2 beginning at 2 p.m. with a funeral mass at 3 p.m. at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Hudson.

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