KELLY, ROBERT IRWIN (1948 ~ 2021). The following is an obituary for Robert Kelly, former Texas House Parliamentarian and Director of the Texas Legislative Council. The obituary was provided by Harrell Funeral Home of Austin.
Robert Irwin Kelly was born into a loving home in Texarkana, Arkansas, June 2, 1948, and passed at his home on his beloved QA Ranch, December 9, 2021, with his beautiful wife by his side.
In his youth and at the age of 12, Bob reached the achievement level of Eagle Scout, he took dance lessons which led to his nickname "The Dancing Bear", and was an exceptional athlete while becoming a superb student and youth community leader. He excelled at all sports with a focus on baseball and football and it was football that led him to a scholarship at the University of Arkansas. After his freshman year, Bob left Arkansas to strike a new path at The University of Texas, Austin and his first big job was to earn money as the "Xerox copy boy" at the Texas Legislative Council. Robert E. Johnson was the Director of the Legislative Council as well as Parliamentarian of the House of Representatives and took Bob under his wing teaching him the ways of politics and strategy. Johnson also took Bob into his home and a lifelong friendship was born with the entire Johnson Family. Bob worked his way to Assistant Parliamentarian and eventually was announced as Parliamentarian of the Texas House in 1981 by Speaker, Honorable Bill Clayton.
Bob served as Parliamentarian and Director of the Texas Legislative Council for 21 years serving Speakers Clayton, Gib Lewis, and Pete Laney. During that time, he mentored hundreds of new House Members, Council employees, mediated battles between the parties and taught rules classes. Respecting the Constitution of the United States, Constitution of Texas and serving the people of Texas was his passion and drive. While his skills were sharp, his ability to bring people together to overcome their differences are what defined him as a statesman.
Once asked what your secret for success is: "Loyalty, pick your fights and never, never ever forget when someone is untruthful."
While the betterment of Texas was his professional passion, there were many other interests that pushed Bob. Champion skeet shooter, scratch golfer and passionate hunter are all widely known. Bob spent many hunting seasons hunting dove in Mexico with friends and belonged to Onion Creek Country Club for many years. There were trips to Alaska and many other states that filled the non-Legislative years. For years, Bob held his private pilot's license, and he was proud to be a Member of the Masonic Lodge. Duck and goose hunting in Port O'Conner hold decades of stories that most can only dream of. Bob was also a board member of the CCA and a lifetime member of the Texas Trophy Hunters Association.
Of all the drive, ambition and accomplishments that were achieved, Bob loved more than all of this, his wife Susan. Bob did everything for and with his love. They traveled, dined, entertained so many people in so many places but they were most happy just the two of them at home on the Ranch outside Seguin. Watching the animals and managing the Ranch filled Bob's retirement years.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, R.D "Dick" and Betty Kelly. He is survived by his devoted wife Susan Stewart of Seguin, Texas and one Sister Debra Kizer.
A private burial was held at the Texas State Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Bob's favorite group: The Texas Game Warden Association.
A gathering of friends will take place in the spring.