Gerald “Kelly” Carman, age 51, of Kenai, Alaska, originally from Lexington, Kentucky, passed away Thursday, August 7, 2014 in Duluth, Georgia, after a courageous battle with cancer, surrounded by his family. Husband, father, son, brother, friend, patriot, sportsman, pilot, adventurer, world traveler, and tech guru: Kelly was a gregarious, humble, and loving man who lived life to the fullest. Kelly’s winning smile, huge heart, and warm nature were the hallmarks of this best friend to many. He loved the great outdoors and took great pleasure in sharing his passion with his beloved wife Dawn and two sons, Bradley, age 14, and Alexander, age 11. In July, Kelly’s last wish was granted when he was able to return to his beloved home in Alaska for three weeks with his family. Floating down the Kenai River, Kelly could unwind and enjoy nature’s beauty. A calculated risk-taker, Kelly was the consummate pilot – adventuresome yet calm and reassuring. You wanted Kelly at the controls. An avid bush pilot, fisherman, and hunter, Kelly lived 25 hours a day and always jokingly said, “You can sleep when you’re dead.” He referred to his Cessna 185 as “his baby”. He loved flying the 185 into Alexander Creek, pumping up the Zodiac boat, and fishing for the elusive salmon. Hence, we named our second son Alexander. Fishing was indeed the mission for Kelly. “Fish on!”, whether he wrangled in the mighty king salmon or hauled up barn door halibut. For Kelly, hunting in Alaska ranged from unforgiving danger to oneness with the land and God, to subsistence for the family dinner table. After every flight, Kelly traditionally kissed the 185’s nose cone, thanking her for another safe flight. Kelly was a talented, capable man: he could build and re-build anything. Nothing gave him greater satisfaction than spending time with his boys, teaching them about sports, marksmanship, and electronics. Most importantly, Kelly instilled strong values and morals in his young sons. Kelly possessed an evident tender side. He was kind and caring, always greeting those he loved with a bear hug for the guys and a kiss for the ladies. He was never too busy for his friends and did favors long before even being asked. When people met Kelly for the first time, they instantly felt connected with him. His warmth and wit were palpable. Over the course of Kelly’s distinguished 26 year military career, he served in the USAF, the Alaska Air National Guard, and the Air Force Reserves. He was a pilot, instructor pilot, and Aircraft Commander, flying the E-3 Sentry AWACS at Elmendorf AFB, AK, and the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker at Eielson AFB, AK. Subsequently, Kelly exhibited his leadership skills as an Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer to the Alaska Command. When activated during Hurricane Gustav, Kelly took charge, coordinated with local, state, and federal officials, facilitating the evacuation of civilians, military personnel, and aircraft from New Orleans. He, along with the air traffic controller and a few others, were the last to leave the airport. Kelly retired from the military in 2013. Kelly was hired by Northwest Airlines on his birthday in December 1995. He spent the majority of his commercial career based in Anchorage flying 747-200 freighters/cargo around the world. He was promoted to MD-88/90 Captain in Atlanta after a merger with Delta Air Lines. Kelly was a graduate of Tates Creek High School in Lexington, Kentucky. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Kentucky, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity. Kelly was a lifelong, passionate Wildcats fan who enjoyed attending the SEC Championship basketball game with his family in March. He received a Master’s degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. In addition to his wife of 25 years, Dawn Murto Carman, and sons Bradley and Alex, Kelly is survived by his parents, Gerald “Buzz” and Dee Dee Carman; sister Christy Pellegrino (Anthony), brothers Kevin (Anastassiya) Carman and Kerry Carman. Kelly was dearly loved by his mother-in-law Rena Blacklocke and fathers-in-law, David Blacklocke and Bill Murto; Dawn’s sister Sherri Summers (Dwayne) and brothers Billy (Angie) Murto and Jeff Murto (Emily Norris); as well as his many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. For Kelly’s family and friends, the loss is immeasurable, but there is peace in knowing he is with God, the ultimate pilot. Each day was a gift to Kelly, and for those who loved and cared for him, he would want you to keep these words in mind, “Sit back and enjoy the ride!" SERVICES FOR GERALD “KELLY” CARMAN Visitation will be held Friday, August 15, 5-8 pm, at Wages & Sons, 1031 Lawrenceville Hwy., Lawrenceville, GA. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday, August 16 at 11am at Catholic Church of St. Monica, 1700 Buford Hwy., Duluth, GA, with reception to follow. It is tradition for Delta pilots to honor their deceased colleagues by attending services in full uniform including jackets. For those who know Kelly, uniform optional. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Carman Sons Scholarship Fund, acct #6130545848, at any Wells Fargo or mail to WF Attn Ms. Landress, 2731 Meadow Church Rd., Duluth, GA 30097.

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  1. So sorry to hear about Kelly. We worked together when I was flying the AWACS at Elmendorf and he wrote an outstanding recommendation for me at Northwest Airlines. He was a great and generous guy. He will be missed.

    We have you in our prayers,

    Scott & Lisa Manley

  2. There are no words to express our sorrow over your loss. I flew with your husband and he was always very positive about his family. His stories and life experiences fascinated the crew. Delta and the USA have lost a very gifted man and we will miss his talents. Our memories of the time we had flying together will be cherished. Your family is in our prayers as you go thru the next phase of your life. You are a strong woman and you will make it.

  3. Rest In Peace my friend. We had a blast on many tdys. You made the Korea trips a blast. You will be missed!!!

  4. Kelly was a good friend and a wonderful example of courage. I will have to miss his visitation and service this coming Friday and Saturday since I have to leave for Milwaukee on Friday morning. I deeply regret not being there with a number of others I know who knew and loved Kelly. We lost him all too soon….but our time here on earth is not up to us. I, and many others, will miss seeing and being with him. May God speed his journey, bless his family, and grant him eternal rest.

    Blue skies,
    Lyle Prouse

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I enjoyed meeting Kelly and helping him over the last few years. He was always so kind and upbeat whenever we talked. He will truly be missed. I pray for the Lord’s comfort in the days and months ahead.

  6. May your heart find healing in his cherished memories I pray you find comfort knowing he was loved by so many

  7. My prayers are with you and your family. I know that this is a trying time for the family, just remember that God has you in His arms and wants you to CELEBRATE the life of your loved one. Remember all the things that you Loved about him. He my gone from this place, but HE WILL FOREVER BE IN YOUR HEARTS. If you ever need anything please let me know.

  8. Kelly is one of those friends who, when you run into at work, you part ways laughing and it just stays with you the rest of the day. He was a bright light in the world and is dearly missed.

  9. Buzz and Dee Dee, So very sorry for your loss. No parent should have to bury their child. He sounded like a wonderful man.

  10. The times we flew the “Whale” out of PANC evoke true sadness but fond memories of Kelly, perfectly framed by the warm, lighthearted and loving comments here. My deep condolences to his family, who indeed have lost a gem. I am glad he suffers no more and look forward to laughter-filled cloud dancing with Kelly another day. NWA Ret.

  11. “It is not the length of the life ,but the depth.”-Emerson. I had the pleasure of flying with Kelly while based in Anchorage with
    NWA. Not only an excellent pilot, Kelly was truly one of the Good Guys. My condolence to his family.

  12. I met Kelly as a member of the Six Mile Sportsmans club many years ago and have never met a more heart warming happy individual. Always a big smile and a positive attitude. He was one of my favorite people and I will never forget him. Now he will always have the wind on his tail and blue skies forever. Rest in peace old friend, you will be missed.

  13. Great pilot, good friend, consummate public servant. I always enjoyed Kelly’s dedication. He will be missed but always remembered.

  14. Kelly and I were pilots during the same period at Northwest Airlines for many years. We traveled the world together and had some great times. We also had many mutual interests such as hunting, fishing and C-185’s. He was a truly great guy and will be greatly missed by his family and friends. Rest in peace Kelly.


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