May 26, 1968 - June 8, 2021
The Beginning … Kelly LaDon Smith, also known as “Kelly Kellz,” was the daughter of the late Samuel Wyles Smith and Merrill Marie Smith. She was born May 26, 1968 in Southfield, Michigan. At an early age she professed her love for Jesus Christ and joined Holy Family Catholic Church of Inkster. She faithfully attended Holy Family, along with her parents and brothers Antonio (Tony) and Darlynn Smith. As a young adult, Kelly later joined Little Rock Baptist Church where she was a dedicated member of the choir. She also supported various projects and served on various committees. Until her last day, Kelly had an endless love for her church home and family. Education and Motherhood: No one could ever accuse Kelly of being a “bench-warmer!” A born leader, no matter how daunting the task she always jumped in with both feet, exuding “high energy” and enthusiasm at every turn. While attending Inkster Public Schools, she channeled her active nature by playing basketball, softball, and being a principal member of the cheerleading squad. Kelly always found ways to bring a “fresh” perspective or unique way of “thinking outside of the box.” After transferring to Aquinas Catholic High School, she helped organize the inaugural “Aquinas High School Gospel Choir”- definitely a “first” for the school. She was popular with her classmates and friends and served as Vice President of her senior class. Upon graduation, Kelly attended Eastern Michigan University for two years, then transferred to the most impactful, and life-changing institution on the highest of seven hills, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU). There, she earned several awards and achieved two of her main life goals - receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering Technology, and being initiated as number 20, “The Pearl,” on the Spring ‘89 (Pearls of Opulence) of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated’s Beta Alpha Chapter. During her senior year at FAMU, she welcomed the birth to her son Darius Dwayne Horne. Shortly after returning home to Inkster, Michigan, Kelly went on to earn her Master’s degree in Human Resources from Marygrove College. Following her marriage to Brian Priestly, Darius gained a little sister when Kelly gave birth to her daughter Kynnedi Je’Marie Priestly, in April 2004. Professional Accomplishments: Kelly was employed by Ford Motor Company as the Lead Supplier Quality Engineer, where she served with distinction. Her technical skills were recognized by many certification awards, including a black belt in the Six Sigma Certification in Quality Engineering. After her exit from Ford Motor Company, in the summer of 2011, Kelly and Kynnedi moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. She was extremely proud when Darius completed his college education and went on to earn his Doctor of Pharmacy degree. General Electric hired Kelly as a Quality Engineer in Supply Chain, and she served there for nine years. Kelly LaDon Smith had a BIG heart and a generous spirit. She joined many groups within the GE community, including: The Women’s Network where she coordinated care package donation drives for women in the military; the African American Forum (AAF), where she mentored students and planned roundtable meetings with GE Executives. Kelly also served on the Leadership Board of the Elfin Retiree Group. Exemplifying Excellence through Community Outreach and Service: Kelly was a dedicated 32-Year Silver Star and Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. After serving in Beta Alpha Chapter at FAMU, she returned home to Michigan and became a dedicated member of Eta Iota Omega Chapter of Inkster - ready to serve. She participated on many Eta Iota Omega Chapter committees. She chaired, co-chaired or served in the following roles: Ways & Means Committee, hosting a fabulous fundraising event called “The Pearl Jam;” the Graduate Advisory Council; the Sorrelles Youth Group (training high school girls to become leaders while performing community service); and the Membership Committee. In January 2013, after moving to Forest Park, Ohio, Kelly joined Phi Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She burst into the chapter meeting as if she had been a member for years, ready to connect with the membership. Her artistic gifts and creative mind brought excitement and enthusiasm to the many committees, activities, and programs that she actively led. Kelly served as the chairman of the Sisterly Relations Committee, chairman of the Hospitality Committee, member of the Program, Membership, and Founders’ Day Committees, co-chairman of the Attire and Entertainment Committee for the 2021 90th Great Lakes Regional Conference. Her dedication and love for HBCU’s, was always evident, and she served as the co-chairman for the chapter’s “Think HBCU” and “HBCU4 Life” programs. Kelly’s love for Alpha Kappa Alpha was never questioned by anyone as she was proud to sing and tell the world how much she loved her AKA and the lifelong sisterhood that was established when she was initiated. She was always encouraging young ladies to do two things: attend college and become a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha. Kelly, The Entrepreneur: Kelly had many, many hobbies – but her all-time favorite hobby was traveling the “world.” Her love for traveling inspired her to become a travel agent and CEO - operating a very successful business called, “R U Traveling 2 Day?” Some of her cherished raveling experiences were cruises, family vacations, and the fabulous girls’ trips with her favorite travel group, “The Diva Squad.” They visited many exotic destinations and events. Kelly enjoyed cooking the most amazing food! Her culinary talents were in such demand that she and her best friend, Marvette Walker, established a catering business called “Soul Chic Catering and Events.” Kelly also loved ballroom dancing - or any form of dancing, singing, and watching her TV shows: Unsung, Fatal Attraction, The Masked Singer, and The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Closing the Final Chapter Kelly LaDon Smith embraced life fully. Like all of us – as mortals, none of us is perfect. But she lived with largess - making sure that she gave all that she could to make others enjoy life just a little more because SHE was there! If we were to write a book about Kelly’s life, there would be no blank pages! Her fingerprints and footprints are sprinkled throughout the lives of all who have come within her circle. Take time to reflect and jot down your memories. Her story is well worth remembering. Kelly peacefully departed this life at 9:50 P.M. on June 8, 2021, at Good Samaritan Hospital. She was surrounded by her children, her mother and other loved ones. Kelly was preceded in death by her father Samuel Wyles Smith, and her best friend Melanie Jones. Her beautiful and extraordinary life will forever live and be cherished in the lives of her children, of whom she was immensely proud: Dr. Darius Dwayne Horne (Christopher) and Kynnedi Je’Marie Priestly; her Mother Merrill Smith; her brothers Antonio Smith and Darrlyn Smith; her stepdaughter Briana Priestly; her Granddaughter in love Savannah Cheeks; her nieces and nephews, Raphael Smith (Alisha), JoNellé Smith, Ra’Chelle Croom (Terrell), Antonio Smith, Eric Smith, and Beonka Smith; her great nieces and nephews, J’Veon Smith, Jaxson Croom, Jayce Croom, Amir Lewis, Alaun Smith, and Arielle Smith; and a host of aunts uncles, cousins, and friends.
The Beginning … Kelly LaDon Smith, also known as “Kelly Kellz,” was the daughter of the late Samuel Wyles Smith and Merrill Marie Smith. She was born May 26, 1968 in Southfield, Michigan. At an early age she professed her love... View Obituary & Service Information
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Kelly LaDon Smith, also known as “Kelly Kellz,”...
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