Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia


Mr. BISHOP of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I rise today to extend my
sincerest congratulations and Happy Birthday wishes to a true man of
God and public servant, Mr. Robert F. Kelley, Sr., who celebrated his
100th birthday on Wednesday, August 14, 2019. He celebrated this
milestone with family and friends on Saturday, August 17, 2019, at 5:00
p.m. at The Cunningham Center located on the campus of Columbus State
University in Columbus, Georgia.
Robert F. Kelley, Sr. was born on August 14, 1919, in Ellaville,
Georgia as the fourth of six children to the late Will Lee and Littie
Hardison Kelley. The values of Christian discipleship, hard work, and
education were instilled in Robert at a young age. Although his studies
in the Chatahoochee County Public School System were cut short because
he had to assist his father in tending to the needs of the family farm, he
remained passionate about learning. Consequently, as an adult, he
continued to learn and prepare for his future employment opportunities,
such as the United States Civil Service, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer,
and the Muscogee County School District.
On April 27, 1939, at the age of 19, Robert married the love of his
life, Flossie McCray. They were faithfully married for 56 years until
Flossie's passing in 1995. Over the years, they were blessed with eight
children: Zelma (deceased), Robert, Jr., William, Carolyn Ann, Shirley,
Doris, Dorothy, and Rosalyn; 14 grandchildren; and 10 great-
grandchildren. As doting parents, Robert and Flossie always created a
nurturing environment of unselfish love, encouragement, and values to
carry their children, grandchildren, and a host of other family members
through life.
In addition to being a committed family man, Mr. Kelley is also a
proud Veteran who served his country during World War II, receiving an
honorable discharge in 1944. His service was a true testament of his
devotion to his country, as African-American soldiers during this time
were in a segregated Army and fought in a war with limited chances of
receiving a promotion or even an acknowledgment.
After his distinguished military career ended, Mr. Kelley continued
to contribute to his community. On September 29, 1944, he became a
member of the Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia and
served over many years in several leadership capacities including
Chairman of the Deacon Board, Chairman of the Trustee Board, Church
Clerk, Financial Secretary, Boy Scout Leader, and Tribe Leader. He
continues to serve to this day.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 says ``The race of life is not given to the swift
nor to the strong, but to those who endure until the end.'' Robert F.
Kelley, Sr. has run the race of his life with zeal and dignity. As
patriarch of his family, the legacy of the exemplary life he has led
stands as a guiding light for the Kelley family and generations yet to
come. God has blessed him for over 100 years and for that, and the
lives he has touched, we can only say ``To God be the glory!``
Madam Speaker, I ask my colleagues in the U.S. House of
Representatives to join my wife, Vivian, and me, along with the almost
730,000 people of Georgia's Second Congressional District, in honoring
an outstanding citizen, family man, and man of God, Mr. Robert F.
Kelley, Sr., for a lifetime of dedicated service to his family, his
community, and his Nation. We extend our best wishes and God's
blessings to him on the occasion of his 100th birthday.
116th Congress