Sylvester Kelley, the decorated World War II veteran who devoted his working life to Sierra Pacific Power and after retirement fought the company to defend his medical benefits, died June 13. He was 87.
There will be a celebration of life in Kelley’s honor on June 18 at 4:30 pm at the Little Baptist Church in Silver Springs, NV. The church is across from the Village Market off Highway 95A in the little shopping center the church is using until construction is completed on the new church. There will be a reception after the service at the Kelley residence.
A veteran memorial service will be held Monday, June 20, at 3 p.m. at the VFW Cemetery in Fernley for those who can’t make the Saturday Celebration of Life, or who want to attend both.
Kelley, a 63-year member of IBEW Local 1245, came back from World War II with a Purple Heart and a finger mangled by German shrapnel. When he sought work at Sierra Pacific Power, the company wouldn’t hire him because his bent finger wouldn’t fit into a company safety glove.
Kelley had the finger amputated in order to go to work for the utility, and went on to become a highly-respected foreman, troubleman and a leader in IBEW Local 1245’s Reno unit in the 1950s.
Last year, Kelley became involved in a big way in the union’s campaign to defend retiree medical benefits at the utility. He was featured in full-page newspapers ads in the state as well as 60-second TV spots that told his compelling story of service and sacrifice.
Over the next several days, Local 1245 will feature our 2010 interview with Brother Kelley in six video installments in our media library.
The union deeply mourns the passing of this extraordinary union brother.