Surrounded by his family, Garvester Kelley, Sr., 87, passed away on Saturday, October 31, 2020, at RWJ Barnabas Health of New Brunswick, NJ.
Garvester was born August 22, 1933, in Laurinburg, NC, son of the late James A. Kelley, Sr. and Ella Belle Kelley. He grew up with ten siblings and attended Laurinburg Institute. He accepted Christ as a youngster, worshipping at Jones Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, where his entire family faithfully served. As a young adult, he loved playing guitar and was a member of the Bethlehem Jubilaires and the Five True Believers Quartets.
Following in the footsteps of his older brother Robert, he relocated to New Brunswick, NJ, in 1954, in search of expanding his hopes and dreams. Soon after arriving in the big city, he met Evelyn Marguerite Powell. They fell in love, married March 17, 1956, and started a family- complete with two sons.
He united with the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (Somerset, NJ) in 1954, where he formerly served as a trustee, regularly painted the parsonage and was a reliable member of the transportation ministry- driving one of the church’s parking lot shuttle buses for all of his favorite passengers. On April 28, 1956, Garvester was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in Progressive Lodge No. 17 of New Brunswick, NJ. For a short time, he owned a painting company and worked for American Cyanamid before becoming a longtime employee and union representative at Bristol Myers Squibb, until retirement in 1993. He worked part-time for Suburban Transit/ Coach USA, where for many years, he delivered NJ/ NYC commuters to their destinations safely and on-time. He was also a favored bus driver for many FBCLG church chartered events.
Garvester was predeceased by brothers- James Jr., Robert, Charles and Cleo and sisters- Hattie Mae, Margaret and Annette. He leaves to cherish his memories, his beloved wife of 64 years, Evelyn M. Kelley; two sons Garvester Jr. (Wendy) of Chicago, IL and Gary (Carol) of River Forest, IL; three sisters, Cassie Bell McKoy of Brooklyn, NY, Ola Mae Terry of Hampton, VA and Carretha Adams (Bruce) of Fayetteville, NC; a host of nieces that he absolutely adored, nephews and many friends throughout the communities where he traveled. Being a kind and dependable father was of the utmost importance to Garvester and he certainly did not disappoint when it came to wholeheartedly loving and providing for his family, especially his five grandchildren; Brandon Alexander (Amy), Marcus Everett (Eva), Justine Elizabeth (Arum), Jordan Powell and Austin Carroll. He never got a chance to meet his great grandson Eli Everett, who turned 2 weeks old on the day he departed his earthly life.
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