Bob Kelley


Robert “Bob” Kelley was born on Nov. 2, 1939. He was the second born to Robert Douglas Kelley and Tahnell Davidson Kelley, raised with his older sister, Betty, and younger brother, John “David,” in Hoover, Ala.

Bob graduated from Samford University School of Pharmacy and also served as an Honor Guard with the U.S. Coast Guard.

In the spring of 1966, he arrived in Sylva, N.C., by way of Hoopers Drug Store. Later in the year, he was lured to assist in the Western Carolina College homecoming parade. Having a convertible, the Jackson County Queen would need a ride and as fate would have it, that is how he met and fell for the love of his life, Betty Jean “Jeannie” Stillwell. As their courtship blossomed, so did his love for this small town he’s called home for more 50 years.

The two were married on April 6, 1968, and settled into a home eager to start their lives together. They began their family with the birth of their first son, Robert Douglas Kelley III, on Feb. 15, 1969. Two more children followed with the birth of their daughter, Kristian Tahnell, on Feb. 3, 1971 and Michael Davidson on April 16, 1975.

With a family of five, Bob began to take stronger roots in our town by purchasing Hoopers Drug Store, becoming Kel-Save Drugs and serving our community until his final days.

For 53 years, Bob was a passionate supporter of Sylva and surrounding areas. He was a member of East Sylva Baptist Church, the Board of Directors for Wachovia Bank, and often contributed to many local charities and strong support of Jackson County Schools and Sheriff’s Department.

Bob treated the people of town like family, always serving the community in any way he could. Bob spent much of his time at Kel-Save Drug, aiding in the health and well being of the people of Sylva. Even during some of our worst winters, Bob would choose to stay at the store so he could be open for those who needed him.

Bob was called home on Nov. 11, 2020, preceded by his parents as well as his eldest son, Robert D. Kelley III.

He leaves behind his loving wife, Jeannie Kelley; their two children Kristy & Mike; as well as their grandchildren, Avery, Brooks, Taylor, Drayton and David.

No services are planned at this time. However, memorial gifts may be made to Mr. Kelley’s favorite charity, United Christian Ministry of Jackson County, helping to support local families in need at 191 Skyland Drive, Sylva, NC 28779.

A receiving of friends to honor Bob will be held at a later date.

An online registry is available at

Appalachian Funeral Services of Sylva, N.C., is serving the family.