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.