December 1, 1962 ~ August 7, 2014
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.