Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One

Chaplain (Col.) Benjamin F. Kelley, 90

Chaplain (Col.) Benjamin F. Kelley, 90, died on June 9, 2018.  He was born on August 31, 1927, in Jamestown, Arkansas to Tinsley Vaughn Kelley and Margie Kelley. He is survived by his wife, Mary Cook, who he married on August 24, 1945. He is also survived by sons Benjamin Kelley, Jr., of Montgomery, Alabama, Bruce (Peggy) Kelley from Batesville, Arkansas, and John (Gretchen) Kelley from Cassopolis, Michigan, and his sister, Bettie Sue Sage of Tremont, Illinois. He was blessed with nine grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents, sisters Grace Kelley and Lavon Barnes, daughter in law Kathryn Kelley and two great-grandchildren, Kathryn and Micah Kelley.

Ben graduated from high school in Pascagoula, Mississippi, in 1945 and from Arkansas College in 1950. He graduated from the Central Baptist Seminary in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1956. He served as a Corpsman in the Navy at the end of World War II. He pastored in churches in Arkansas and Missouri from 1950 until he became an Air Force Chaplain in 1960. During his career he was stationed in Colorado, France, California, Korea, Nebraska, Iceland and Arkansas. At the time of his retirement he was the Staff Chaplain for the 15th Air Force Headquarters. His military decorations and awards included the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, World War II Victory Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation. Ben served as a Volunteer Chaplain for the FBI in Little Rock for several years. He was also very active visiting people in the area hospitals and homes. He belonged to the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville and was a 32nd Degree Mason.

Visitation will be on Wednesday, June 13 from 4:00 to 7:00pm at A Natural State Funeral Home in Jacksonville with Masonic services at 6:30pm. The funeral service will be on Thursday,  June 14 at 10:30am at the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville with burial to follow at the Arkansas Veterans Cemetery at 12:00pm.

In lieu of flowers the family prefers donations be made to the First Baptist Church or a charity of your choice.

Arrangements are under the direction of A Natural State Funeral Service, 2620 West Main Street, Jacksonville, Arkansas, 72076. 


Link to Ben’s Memorial Video:


  • Cumberland Family Posted June 11, 2018 4:13 PM

    Mary, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this time of loss. Ben has been a blessing not just to my Mother but to all of us. He was a wonderful man and there is no other like him. Love to you and your family. xoxo Marcia, Kimberly, Melissa, Mallory and Emily

  • Jackie (Darrell) Cook Whipple & Family Posted June 11, 2018 7:21 PM

    Uncle Ben was a very loving, kind gentleman who loved the Lord and his family. He’s finally home.
    Prayers and blessings to Aunt Mary and my cousins/families.

  • Jack Cook Jr and famly Posted June 11, 2018 9:38 PM

    I am so sorry for our lost he was my best uncle and fellow Vetern. Being a combat Vet we loved our chaplans!

  • Bill and Dee Nery Posted June 12, 2018 8:59 AM

    So sad to to see our sweetheart passed. We know he is with Jesus, smiling down on all of us. We love and miss him dearly.. praying for you ,Mary, for peace and comfort, we love and miss being with u as well…,

  • Robin Dunlap and Adam Turner Posted June 12, 2018 3:29 PM

    Many prayers and much love Mary!! I know Ben is now at peace and I know how much the two of you loved each other!! Ben was always the kindest man! Love you!

  • Thad and Ruth Gray Posted June 13, 2018 1:58 AM

    Our love and prayers are with Ms. Mary and the rest of the Kelley family. Ben was an incredible servant of our Lird and Savior. He, nor Mary, missed an opportunity to speak with us, and we loved them so much. They were definitely an inspiration in our lives.

  • Dan Hiser Posted June 13, 2018 8:19 AM

    My wife Jean and I will always remember Ben as a wonderful man that demonstrated the fruits of the Spirit of God in all that he set out to do. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Maty and family.

  • Teddy and Nevada James Posted June 14, 2018 9:14 AM

    A wonderful person and will be missed by all who knew Mr. Ben. Our prayers are with you all.

  • Tammie Orlicek Posted June 15, 2018 3:03 PM

    Bruce and Family. So sorry to hear about your father’s death. My sincere sympathy.

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