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With heavy hearts, we share the passing of Kelly Dale Alexander. Kelly breathed his last breath and took flight on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, surrounded by his kids. It was a peaceful, sweet moment in time. It has been quite a journey, and we are so thankful to have been able to spend precious moments with Kelly. Thank you all for your support, prayers, and thoughts during these past few months.
Kelly was born on July 11, 1961 in Viroqua, Wisconsin, the seventh of eight beloved children to Arlene Nellie (Peterson) Alexander and George Leo Alexander. Kelly and his siblings grew up on a picturesque dairy farm in the Sugar Grove area where they attended the Kickapoo School District. While in school, Kelly particularly enjoyed playing basketball and baseball. Kelly was a baseball lover and Cubs fan all his life.
After school, Kelly married and had two adored children: Holly and Kelly Ryan, who he raised in the charming town of Coon Valley, Wisconsin. Those years were filled with teaching his kids everything from baseball to fishing; hunting to making huge, layered Chicago-style pizzas. Kelly instilled a love of nature in his kids, as well as respect for all life and the natural ebb and flow of the circle of life. Prominent in the background of every memory is Kelly’s music. He was a life-long music lover and passed his passion along to his children.
In June of 2011, Kelly married Rhoda, the love of his life.
Kelly often said he didn’t know what happiness was until he met Rhoda. For 12 blissful years, the couple reveled in the joys of marriage at their picturesque home in De Soto, nestled amidst acres of serene woods with a gentle brook meandering through the property. Together, they crafted a haven of tranquility. Countless evenings were spent with their children and grandchildren gathered around bonfires, having sleepovers in the cabin, savoring meals cooked over open flames, playing in the creek, and enjoying the bountiful harvest of homegrown and wild foraged foods.
Kelly's unwavering dedication to his family extended to working tirelessly to ensure their well-being. In his spare time, he found great joy in helping family members and friends with projects and providing for them in less obvious gestures such as tending to the land, caring for the chickens, foraging for wild mushrooms, hunting, and helping Rhoda to preserve their harvest. In their leisure moments, Kelly and Rhoda found joy in each other's company, whether hiking in their woods, taking scenic drives in the driftless area, watching Packers games at Norwegian Hollow, going out for dinner and a movie, or simply strolling hand in hand through their property, cherishing the fruits of their labor.
As an avid reader, Kelly was exposed to many different viewpoints, cultures, and philosophies which promoted an open-minded outlook and a rich intellect. He would frequently chime in during a conversation to say, “I read a book on that,” which would often lead to thoughtful and engaging conversation. He also had a profound love for music and its ability to inspire, heal, and empower. His appreciation spanned artists from many different genres, which is evidenced by his extensive album collection.
Kelly and his friends bonded over their love of music and would often embark on road trips to nearby cities for live performances of their favorite bands. Kelly and Rhoda also attended many concerts with their family, and would often travel to iconic music venues to see some of their favorite artists such as Blackberry Smoke, Robert Earl Keen, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Railroad Earth, Lucinda Williams, Caamp and many others. In a loving gesture, both Kelly and Rhoda thoughtfully curated playlists for their loved ones, providing a way to cherish their memory through the joy of music long after their passing.
Kelly was preceded in death by his wife, Rhoda Alexander; his brothers, Leslie, Ronnie, Bobby, and Mike Alexander; as well as his father, George Alexander. He will be forever in the hearts of his mother Arlene Alexander; his children, Holly (Adam) Hansen and Kelly Ryan (Jessie) Alexander; his step-children: Ryan Sternke, Dana (Curtis) Ryals, and Molly Sternke (Benjamin Bain); his grandchildren, Kane & Grace, Christian & Carter, Lewis & Emerson; his siblings: Carey (Steve) Olson, Cheryl (John Applebee) Otterson, and Kevin Alexander; as well as many other family members and friends.
As we mourn Kelly’s loss, we also celebrate his wonderful life. Please join us for a Celebration of Life gathering at the Retreat Sportsman's Club on Sunday, October 8th, from 1 to 4 pm. A graveside service will be held for Kelly and Rhoda following the Celebration of Life at Manning Cemetery in Readstown, County Road S.
This informal gathering is an opportunity to honor Kelly’s relaxed and positive spirit, so we encourage everyone to wear a shirt with your favorite band or musical artist on it, or a tie-dye shirt. Also, Kelly was never one for fancy, so please feel free to wear jeans or camo. We invite those who feel moved to share a personal story about Kelly as we come together to remember and honor him and the impact he made on our lives. Let us find solace in each other's company and draw strength from the memories we shared with him.
As we endeavor to uphold and continue Kelly & Rhoda’s legacy of making a positive impact on the lives of others and the natural world, the family kindly requests that donations be made to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve in memory of Kelly & Rhoda.
The family extends their heartfelt gratitude to the entire care team at the Gundersen Cancer Center for their comprehensive and compassionate guidance throughout Kelly’s journey. Their unwavering support made a profound difference during this challenging time. Additionally, the hospice team played a crucial role assisting the family in providing excellent care and allowing Kelly to spend his final months in the comfort of his own home. A very special thank you goes out to Dr. Harmon, Dr. Conway, and Jason Mowry, RN, whose dedication addressed the needs of Kelly’s mind, body, and spirit. We hold the deepest love and respect for their exceptional care and commitment. We will miss Kelly terribly, but find comfort & joy knowing that he and Rhoda are together again, probably already filling bird feeders and planning a garden.
The Roth Family Cremation Center and Funeral Services of Viroqua is serving the family.