September 5, 2004 by

Russell Kelly


Categories: Sports

rkelly.jpgRussell Thomas Kelly’s gregarious and free-spirited nature were perfectly suited to his wanderlust lifestyle. He made a living working seasonally for Jo-Ma-Ma’s Moving Company in Telluride, Colo., but his spare time was dedicated to building an international reputation as an expert whitewater kayaker.
Born in Stamford, Conn., Kelly learned to kayak in the ninth grade while attending the prestigious Lowell Whiteman School in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Over the years, he completed Class V descents in Argentina, Chile, India, Nepal and Peru. His last adventure involved a three-week whitewater kayaking expedition in Siberia, Russia.
When he wasn’t on the water, Kelly attended more than 100 Grateful Dead concerts. An avid skier and paraglider, he also sold photographs of his travels to kayak and canoe magazines.
Kelly died on Aug. 9 in a single-vehicle accident. His pickup truck left the highway between Big Sky and West Yellowstone, Mont., and rolled down a steep embankment. Kelly was trapped inside and died before rescuers could arrive. He was 29.

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