Farwell to Dave Kelton, APTA Men’s Senior Champion

August 31, 2012

Dave KeltonApril 17, 1925 – July 29, 2012.

David Gordon Kelton was born on April 17, 1925. The first of two sons of David and Frieda Kelton, he grew up in the Bronx, and the Bronx remained a touchstone throughout his life. He attended both Lincoln School and Horace Mann School in the Bronx and finished at Columbia University.

During World War Two, Dave served in the Navy as a ship supply officer and later as purser. It was during his stint in the Navy that he met Lucille (Til) Clarke while on a blind date. They were married in January 1947 and spent their life together filled with travel (including multiple car trips across the US as well as a trip to Europe), friends, and most importantly, family.

After the War, Dave worked with several different industrial fastener companies primarily in sales management, settling in Detroit in 1962. He retired from Bamal Corporation in 1992. Upon retirement, he began volunteering with SCORE, an organization that mentors aspiring entrepreneurs and assists small businesses in the early stages of formation. He worked with SCORE the remainder of his life.

Throughout his life Dave was always athletically active. He grew up playing tennis at his family's business, Notlek Tennis. He played tennis into his late 80s, and even at that point, could claim that he never lost a match to his daughters, his sons-in-law, or any of his grandchildren. He won the Tennis Championship multiple times at Bloomfield Open Hunt Club, where he and Til were lifetime members. Later in life he developed a love of Platform Tennis. He won two APTA National Championships, including the Men’s 60+ Nationals in 1987 with Robert Wicks and the Men’s 70+ Nationals in 1999 with Chuck Baird. He was also runner-up in the 50+ in 1981 and the 70+ in 1998.

But the most important thing to Dave was always family. He was the father of four daughters, Cassie, Lucy, Anne, and Kelli. He also had three sons-in-law, Bill Vasileff, Tony Lott, and Bill Handel. He leaves behind seven grandchildren, Kel (Allison), Jody (Kelsey), Alex, and Chris Vasileff, Jane and Colleen Handel, and Stefan Lott. The last gift is his great-granddaughter, Reagan Lucille Vasileff, born only three weeks ago. Always there with a pat on the back and a hug of encouragement, he was a fixture at the athletic and academic events of his grandchildren, whether in Michigan or Chicago. As noted by one of his grandsons, "He was a great teacher, a mentor of high moral values, and at the end of the day he always knew how to have fun."

The depth of our sorrow is a measure of the depth of our love for Dave Kelton. We wish him Godspeed on this next journey.

Editor's Note: Thanks go to Jay Reynolds for sending this obituary to us.

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