Kelly J. Murrah, 56, of Minonk, died Tuesday, September 20, 2022, at his home.
Kelly was born on September 12, 1966 in Urbana, IL to William and Bettie Rutledge Murrah. He married Jennifer Kidd in August of 2004 in El Paso. She survives.
He is also survived by three children, Tyler (Jordan) Murrah of Minonk, Matthew (Ashton Vacanti) Grimsley of Bloomington, Kelsey Murrah of Champaign; three grandchildren, Oaklee Ava Grimsley, Jaxson Robert Grimsley, Madelyn Faith Murrah; siblings, Robert Murrah of SD, Rick Murrah of MS, Reed Murrah of Peoria, Lorri (Reggie) Smith of Mason City, Jack (Julie) of ND, Tom Laznik of Urbana; niece raised as his sister, Shellie Sprouse of Ft. Walton Beach, FL; mother-in-law, Linda Kidd of El Paso; grandmother-in-law, Clara Chinowth; brother-in-law, Richard (Sue Ann Buck) Kidd of El Paso; nephew that he thought of as a son, Andy (Courtney Moore) Pruitt; several other nephews and nieces; furry babies, Roxie and Caesar; and honorary brothers, Greg (Deb) Rhoton of Sidney, IL, Troy (Christina) Splittstoesser of Monticello, Roger (Gail Miller) Flaningam of Champaign, Tony (Cheri Gitz) Wood of St. Joseph, John (Liz) Finn of Sidney, Ricky Cline of El Paso, Richard (Shawna) Stillwell of Minonk, Brett (Kim) Anderson of Minonk, Stephen (Jenny) Malcolm of Flanagan, Monty (Trina) Montgomery of Dana.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Sandy Dillman; and father-in-law, Robert Kidd.
Kelly graduated from Urbana High School in 1984 and started a career in law enforcement, taking classes at Parkland College and ICC while working Security for Parkland College. He spent 25 years as a police officer in several small departments: Wenona in 1989 where he was chief, El Paso in 1990 while he attended the police academy in Springfield, and Washburn in 2006 as chief. He then did several odd jobs and returned to law enforcement as a corrections officer at Dwight Correctional Center in 2011 until it closed in 2013. He was then transferred to Pontiac Correctional Center where he worked until his health made him resign in 2022.
Kelly was always a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants type of man, except for work; he had an excellent work ethic. He always had a smile on his face and would get you to smile in any way possible. He would give you the shirt off of his back, eager to give advice and help anyone. He was especially helpful to his own family, especially his children and grandchildren, always eager to help their minds grow and think. He helped several of his own children and their friends learn how to construct a room on our house, work on their own cars or ours, and set up tool boxes for their first jobs. The running joke on Sunday mornings was to see how many boys were sleeping in Tyler and Matthew’s room, and then he and Kelsey would make omelets to order.
In 2019, his niece Desirae was getting married and asked Kelly to become an ordained minister to marry her. With such pride, he happily obliged her, and on July 20, 2019, he married her and Jarrod.
He loved to ride his Harley, putting many miles on it. Our favorite destination was jumping on and heading any direction, stopping at little towns along the way to have a beer and meet people. He never met a stranger. He also recently got excited about the Jeep we had bought since he could not ride his Harley any longer. The tops out of the Jeep became his second favorite.
He loved to throw together a Sunday Choir Practice in our garage, pulling out the grill or smoker and inviting anybody and everybody over for lots of laughs and crying in our garage.
He was an avid hunter and gun lover, teaching tactical and basic gun use, as well as being a former Concealed Carry Permit instructor for the State of Illinois.
Kelly was truly a one-of-a-kind man. He and Jennifer were truly soulmates whose love was envied by others, and it was infectious. He had such a huge heart, and his belly laughs were the best. The way he could make the kids and grandkids scream with giggles is still being heard today. The world is definitely sadder and darker today with this great human taken too soon. “Till I see you on the other side, Clyde; fly high and Godspeed. Love, Bonnie.”
A special thank you to Kellie Dewitt and Vijay Misra for their compassion and dedicated efforts in the past year. Memorial contributions in Kelly's name can be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, September 24, 2002 at 4:00 p.m. at Ruestman-Harris Funeral Home in El Paso. Visitation will be from 2:00 to 4:00p.m. at the funeral home. Cremation rites will be accorded. Online condolences may be sent to family at ruestmanharrisfuneralhome.com