Whitney Benjamin Kelly, 57, passed away on November 5, 2022, with his husband Jim Kemp by his side at their home in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Whitney’s dear friend Jeremy Gibson-Roark was with them. Whitney was a loyal, supportive and generous individual who was a shining light to all who dearly loved him.
He was born in Austin and moved to Amarillo as a young child. He attended kindergarten at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and graduated from Amarillo High School in 1983. Whitney attended Austin College and West Texas A&M University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in English. He also got a Master of Arts degree from West Texas A&M University and a Master of Education in Instructional Technology from American Intercontinental University. As a gifted educator, communicator and writer, Whitney taught English for Amarillo College and was a much sought-after corporate trainer for companies such as Nationwide Insurance, Corporate Systems and AIG.
In 1994, Whitney met the love of his life, Jim Kemp. They held a commitment ceremony in Amarillo on September 1, 1996, and were able to legally marry on September 1, 2011, at St. Mary of the Harbor Episcopal Church in Provincetown. Whitney and Jim joined St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in 1996 and became active members of the church community. Whitney acted as a greeter, and a chalice bearer, and baked communion bread. He also served on the finance committee.
Whitney gave back to his community through service to Friends in Need, PASO and Equality Texas. He served as Chair of the Equality Texas Foundation. He also served as President of the Board of Susan G. Komen Foundation Greater Amarillo and as President of the Board of Directors for the Amarillo Museum of Art.
Whitney was predeceased by his great aunt and uncle Kathryn and Weldon Carter, his father Carter Kelly, and his younger brother Matthew. He is survived by his husband Jim Kemp and family: Trey, Brooke and Will; Patrick, Megan, Luke, Ben, Kate, Sawyer, and Sarah; his sister-in-law Kem and partner Cay; his sister Carolyn Terrell and her family: Steve, Kathryn and Parker, Abbie and Susanna; his mother Sue Kelly, and many more uncles, aunts, cousins, and dear friends.
A wise leader of our day said “When someone shares with you who they really, really are, it is a special offering. To do so when it risks rejection is a profound, holy gift.” Whitney was true to his own personality, values, and spirit regardless of pressure to act otherwise. What a profound gift he was to us!
Services will be held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, December 10, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Equality Texas, St. Andrew’s Trust, or The Whitney Kelly LGBTQ+ Empowerment Fund through Amarillo Area Foundation.
28 Replies to “Whitney Benjamin Kelly”
I remember Whitney well from AHS and also working with him during his time at AIG. My condolences to Jim, and family during this difficult time.
There was no brighter soul than Whitney. I’m so sorry for your loss, Jim. The two of you had a great love that warmed us all. Blessings to you and your family.
Jim, I got the news today and spent the morning remembering Whitney and reading about him here. I am so sad and sorry to hear about his passing today. I have really fun memories of him and getting to work together way back when. It always made my day when I got to see the two of you together. All the hugs and support from here in Austin. I hope we get to connect again.
Jim, I am just seeing this and wanted to say again how sorry I am that you are missing your other half. I am sending you prayers that the Holy Spirit will bring you comfort. I love you, friend!
We were blessed to know Whitney as a friend and family member when our daughter married Jim’s son, Trey. We were able to get to know him over the years that passed. He was kind, smart, caring and so much fun. We will treasure all of the special moments we shared. He will be dearly missed.
I met Whitney at my very first “grown-up” job almost 20 years ago. Meeting him was a breath of fresh air. Whitney is witty, thoughtful, considerate, open-minded, funny- HILARIOUS even, and an all-around phenomenal human. I attribute much of who I am today based on his encouragement and advice; the course of my life may have been so different had I never known him and for that I am so grateful.
To know Whitney, in any capacity, is to love him. I send my sincerest condolences to Whitney’s loved ones.
Jim, my condolences in the loss of your husband. May God’s love, peace and comfort surround you.
Carolyn, May you also fell God’s comfort and love.
So sad to hear of Whitney’s passing. He was a true gentle man. Always had a smile on his face & a sweet word or compliment to anyone he met. Super, great guy & I feel so blessed that I was able to work with & be his friend. Will miss you Whitney.
Jim, My heart is broken. I am so sorry for your loss. I loved Whitney and always enjoyed being around him. He was a shining light.
What a lovely remembrance of Whitney. He was a very special kind of person – literally, one of a kind. My heart goes out to Jim and the rest of the family.
I’m so sorry to hear this news. My deepest condolences to you and yours. God Bless my friend.
I am so sorry for your loss! You and Whitney were always smiling when you were together and I loved that about you both!
Jim, I am so shocked and saddened by this news! I’m sending you my deepest sympathy and most heartfelt hugs!💗
I still remember Mission Trips with him to the Rio Grande. He always was willing to serve.
Whitney was a shining light. Jim, I’m so glad y’all found happiness and I’m sending all my love. You are in my prayers.
This one hurts my heart so much. I love you Dr: Kemp. So so much. Whitney will be missed
I am so very heartbroken for the loss of such a wonderful person. He was a joy and light to all around him. He was so kind and loving, and the happiness he brought to my brother, Jim, is something I have always and will always cherish.
He made so many people happy and will be so very greatly missed.
I’m shocked and saddened by this news. Whitney was one of a kind – sharp, funny and amazingly kind. He kept me in stiches when telling me stories about things like meeting Liza Minelli . I will never forget my friend and companion, Whitney Kelly. God bless you Jim.
I loved how you would always greet me with a smile and a hug. The world lost and amazing man. Much love to you Jim. Hugs coming from Bryan Texas.
Sure love you Whitney! Thanks for all the smiles & laughter. Such joy & fun. Always loved sharing time with you & Jim. Toasting your way my friend. Marty & I are With you, Jim. Our hearts hug yours! Peace. Love you so.
🖤Susan & Marty
We are so very sorry Jim!
We were very saddened by the news of Whitney’s Passing. He was always so nice to us and always a kind word. Jim you are in our thoughts and Prayers.
Whitney was funny, smart, kind and brave. He will be missed.
Have loved Whitney since I met him when I worked with his Dad at First National Bank. RIP Whitney, so many will miss you 🥰
What a genuinely nice person. My children and I grieve for his passing . Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers!
I will miss my Whitney so much! I said “my” Whitney because he was so loving and nurturing to all of us as an individual. He had such a cute sense of humor and loved to play pranks on us! You would catch him looking at you with the most mischievous grin, and you knew he was up to something.
Whitney was a fabulous mentor to those around him and was always giving us words of encouragement. He was so smart and loved to teach/ train, but never made anyone feel small.
Whitney’s heart was so big and he was amazingly kind! I loved him so much! We met at work, but became life-long friends and then family. There is a special angel in heaven now and we will always see Whitney’s bright smile in the sunrise.
Love you, Jim! You made Whitney so happy!
I always loved seeing Whitney and the smile that always came with him. He gave so much to our community and showed us how to live life to its fullest. Jim, you are in my prayers.
I am heartbroken by this news.
Whitney was such a wonderful person. He always made everyone around him feel loved and appreciated and he made my brother Jim so happy.
The world is a dimmer place without him.
God speed Whitney and all my love to you Jim.