Huel McKinley (Mack) O’Kelley, Jr., age 79, of Helen, formerly of Gainesville, Ga., passed away on February 7, 2015, at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Born on February 18, 1935 in Atlanta, GA, Mack was the son of the late Huel McKinley O’Kelley, Sr., and Isabelle Allen O’Kelley.
Survivors include his wife, Cheryl O’Kelley; seven children, daughter and son-in-law, Kathy O’Kelley Whitmire and David Whitmire; son and daughter-in-law, Huel McKinley III (Ken) and Sonya O’Kelley; daughter and son-in-law, Karey O’Kelley Aitken and Steve Aitken; daughter and son-in-law, Kristy O’Kelley Howard and Curtis Howard; daughter and son-in-law, Nicki Carter Koppenaal and Jon Koppenaal; son and daughter-in-law, Dustin and Haley Carter; son, McKinley O’Kelley; eight grandchildren, Brooke and Huel McKinley (Kip) O’Kelley, IV; Ansley and Anthony Howard; Cohen and Adelyn Carter; Mary Katherine and Sam Koppenaal; his brother and sister-in-law, Johnny and Diane O’Kelley; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Jimmy and Rochelle Forrester; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Patti and Todd Murrow.
A graduate and Mr. AHS of Athens High School, Mack received an Associates degree from Young Harris College and attended the University of Georgia. He was employed at Hardy Studio before moving on to own and operate Liberty Press in Gainesville for many years. In retirement, he, his wife, Cheryl, and son, McKinley, owned and operated Alpine Amusement Park in Helen.
Living out his true calling as a servant of the Lord, Mack taught many boys and girls in Sunday school classes for over fifty years at Gainesville First Baptist and Helen First Baptist Church. He was also able to live out his dream as an employee at Atlanta Metro YMCA Camp High Harbour since 1996, where he influenced the lives of so many campers, counselors, parents and staff members.
While living in Gainesville, Mack was a member of the Jaycees and the Rotary Club. He served as the treasurer of the Salvation Army and on the Gainesville Housing Authority. In Helen, he was a founding member of the Helen Rotary Club, served on the White County Board of Sharing and Caring, White County United Way Board, and was also on the Benevolence Committee at the Helen First Baptist Church.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at First Baptist Gainesville on February 21, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. with Dr. Bill Coates officiating. The family will receive friends in the Family Life Center following the service.
In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the “Mack O’Kelley Memorial Fund” at United Community Bank.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to the sweetest and most caring Hospice nurses, Emily, Mary and Paula and special friend, Debbie Garner.