Gerald and Iva Kelly lived in Durant until March 2009, when he retired as associate pastor of prayer and senior adult ministry at Fairview Baptist Church in Durant. They now serve Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee as volunteer community prayer coordinators for spiritual life. In 58 years of ministry, they have served Southern Baptist churches in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
In recognition of their 60-year anniversary, the Kelly received a citation from the Oklahoma legislature signed by Speaker of the House Kris Steele and Governor Mary Fallin.
The Kellys, both natives of Okmulgee, were married Dec. 23, 1951, at First Baptist Church in Okmulgee, with James Ivey officiating. Their anniversary celebration drew dozens of friends, family and former church members from across the state -- from Skiatook, to Hugo, to Ada.
Gerald Kelly is a 1959 graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and attended Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., before becoming a missionary pastor in Kansas and Nebraska. He conducts prayer revivals in conjunction with the Baptist General Convention’s office of prayer and spiritual awakening. Iva Kelly attended Oklahoma State Technical University in Okmulgee and has been active in the music and missions ministries of the churches they have served. She has been a member of the Singing Churchwomen of Oklahoma. They are the parents of two sons, Mark Kelly of Marietta, Ga., and Brian Kelly of Frisco, Texas; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
At those close of the reception, Dale Griffin, OBU dean of spiritual life, and his wife, Donna, praised the Kellys for the sacrificial love and commitment that carried them through 60 years of married life.
“I want to thank you, Gerald and Iva, for the example you set for us. It is our desire and plan that we will one day have a family heritage like you,” Griffin said. “We love you and give God praise for you. Thank you for coming to Shawnee to invest in Oklahoma Baptist University.”