Kelly Wayne Reynolds

Kelly Wayne Reynolds

Sunrise: March 8, 1945 — Sunset: September 19, 2022

“You Belong To The Universe”

Kelly Wayne Reynolds, aka Kelly Fun, aka Kelly Banana, aka K-Rey went back to a state of cosmic joy on September 19, 2022. Throughout his time here, Kelly was sustained by the unshakeable belief that love is a real and powerful force that exists in the universe and that we exist to love and be loved.

Born on March 8, 1945, he was an unmissable presence wherever he landed. He grew up in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis to an immigrant mother and a father whose own demons often resulted in violence and a loss of family and personal safety. Kelly turned to heroin and other opiates for escape, was addicted by high school, and continued to use until 1973.

A regular part of the West Bank hippie scene in Minneapolis, he met Thora in 1969. After they got pregnant, Kelly realized he wanted to be sober, but it was a frequently failing struggle.  They had their first child on Thanksgiving morning 1970.  Being grateful hippies, they named her Happy Thanksgiving. 

Fleeing the Minneapolis drug culture, they found stability in Winona, MN, where Kelly continued to play music and struggle with addiction. He bottomed out while trying to pass a forged prescription at Richters pharmacy back on the Minneapolis West Bank. Pharmacist Phil Richter, who knew Kelly well, told him, ‘Kelly, I’ve called the cops but they aren’t here yet. You should go while you can.”  

He sped back to Winona completely freaking out and sought the counsel of his AA sponsor who told him his only chance to avoid prison was to go to treatment at Rochester State Hospital immediately. He took that chance and was able to remain sober for the rest of his life.

Other things Kelly did with his time among us:
Showed up to AA, gave and received support, and continued to work the 12 Steps.
Graduated from Winona State University after getting sober.
Delivered his son, Joshua Reynolds, on the side of the road on the way to the hospital.
Got his Masters in Social Work specializing in addiction.
Ran a treatment hospital in Prescott, Wisconsin.
Was pardoned by Arnie Carlson after having so completely turned his life around that he​ ​blew the governor’s mind.
Was blessed to have a best friend in his brother, Ross Reynolds.
Body surfed at Zuma Beach.
Drove his family nuts with his shenanigans.
Bought and returned a lot of music equipment.
Found Buddhism, took his vows, and became a practicing Bodhisattva-Warrior.
Loved the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and practiced the life work of sitting with and being mindful with his suffering.
Was found by and reconnected with his oldest child Lisa Dawn Gentry. It was a joy for him and he loved her and was proud to be her father.
He jammed with anyone and everyone at any and every opportunity.
Chose to live fully throughout the course of his Parkinson’s Disease.
Was actively weird.
Dressed like a star at every stage in his life, from beaded jackets to armani suits. He liked to be seen and delighted in the joy his style brought others.
Was authentically thankful for every person’s contribution and directly thanked and honored people daily.
Was human, and if he trespassed against you he would listen, acknowledge, and make amends.

Kelly’s success in life was a direct result of his unending commitment to personal growth and having a community that agreed and supported that goal. He often remarked that in his neighborhood “White men went to treatment, Black and Native men went to jail.” He knew how hard recovery is for individuals, for families, for communities and in the criminal justice system, and that it’s not fair.

He treasured his family, his AA peers, the River’s Edge Condo Community, the folks of Zion Lutheran Church at Midway, his fellow Buddhists at Compassionate Ocean Zen Center, the staff and neighbors at Iris Park Commons, and fellow visitors from other planets.

His family would like to thank the universe and Kelly for being our father, brother and uncle, for choosing sobriety, and for working on himself every day. We thank all the people who loved him.

If he were still here, he would wish that you would read this, take a breath, and just be right where you are for a moment. That you might open your heart for yourself and those around you and know that you too belong to this universe, you are loved and deserving of love, and you are right where you are supposed to be.

We will be having a celebration of his life on October 15 from 11 am to 1 pm in the Atrium at The Gardens, Episcopal Homes, 1860 University Ave. W., Saint Paul, MN 55104.

If you’d like to do something in his name, consider donating to Compassionate Ocean Zen Center at https://www.oceanzen.org/donations-appeals, or you can send a check to the Struthers Parkinson’s Center c/o Park Nicollet Foundation, 6500 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, MN 55426. 

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