Meet Kelley Reid, a dedicated volunteer with Vivalon’s Resource Office
Every week, Kelley Reid makes a huge difference in the lives of his Marin neighbors. He is one of our steady volunteers in Vivalon’s Resource Office, a vital program that has been a part of our services for decades. When someone needs help finding things like legal advice, housing resources, or in-home support services, they call the Resource Office, and Kelley is always there to help.
“The most rewarding thing for me is to get a call from older adults and help them navigate their problems. I take the time to listen to what they share and help determine the base of the issue. Sometimes we talk about their life and family. I get to know them and follow up with them to make sure they were able to get the resources needed and if not, I help them look for alternatives.”
Kelley is immensely passionate about his work and is uniquely qualified for the position, having served as a leader at many different levels in the communities where he has lived.
In junior high school, he loved sports, playing both football and baseball as a left-handed quarterback and pitcher. Later, in high school, Kelley was part of the first graduating class at the brand-new Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “We started the traditions, creating the fight song, alma mater, colors, and things like that.” He was also elected to president of the student council and Hawkeye Boys State, thus beginning a lifelong habit of assuming leadership positions and honorary titles.
Kelley continued his education at the University of Iowa and joined the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in his freshman year but was asked to start a new chapter at Florida State University the following year. At FSU, he ran for student office again. “I like giving back to the community wherever I am,” he says. There, he was elected to associate justice of the FSU honor court and chief justice the following year. He also received honors through the Omicron Delta Kappa and Gold Key leadership societies and eventually was inducted into the FSU hall of fame. It was an honor that he didn’t even know he had received until his own son followed in his footsteps at the same university.
“My oldest son, Gordy, who walked on and made the football team at FSU, called me and said, ‘Dad, I saw your name in the student union. You’re in the Hall of Fame! Did you know?’ I started welling up,” Kelley recalls fondly.
During college, Kelley dedicated himself to the Air Force ROTC program, receiving his second lieutenant bars as he headed to University of Florida Law School. While still in law school, he was promoted to first lieutenant and then to captain. Upon completing his studies, he was ready to take the Florida Bar exam alongside his younger brother Justus. They both quickly passed and Justus started as a plaintiff’s attorney in Florida while Kelley worked as an insurance defense trial attorney. “They never did seem to get us paired up against each other in court though,” Kelley jokes affectionately.
The Air Force assigned him to California next, as a JAG (Judge Advocate General) officer, and he was stationed at Castle Air Force base in Merced for just over three years. “I took the flight physical and learned I was red-green color ignorant. I always wondered why I had trouble picking out suits and ties. I didn’t want to be a pilot anyway, but it was good I was red-green color ignorant because in the law you only need to see white, black, and gray,” he jokes.
Kelley went on to lead an accomplished career as an investigator and attorney in California, working with the likes of Melvin Belli, the “King of Torts,” and meeting Bernard Witkin, writer and legal scholar of summaries of California law and other notable writings. After passing the California Bar exam in 1973, he would later become partner at firms such as Bishop, Barry, Howe & Reid; LaFollette, Johnson, DeHaas, Fesler & Ames; and the San Francisco office of Borton Petrini, home-based out of Bakersfield. In total, Kelley has practiced law for 49 years, going on his 50th in June of 2023, and is still an active member of the California State Bar and the Marin County Bar Association.
After living in Sausalito and then San Rafael, his family finally ended up in Ross where he lives with his wife Mary and raised his three sons – Gordy, Robbie, and Jimmy. In Ross, he was elected to two terms on the Town Council (1990-1998). He was twice elected as Mayor (1992-1993 and 1996-1997). In 1998, he was appointed as the Ross Town Treasurer and is still in this position today.
Along with his work as an insurance defense trial attorney, collection of honorary titles, and his natural disposition to help others, he’s also passionate about music and is a member of the Marin Golden Gate Barbershop Chorus and Quartet, singing in senior living communities and other places throughout Marin. He was elected as the Barbershopper of the Year in 2021.
In learning about Kelley’s life, it’s clear he’s a high achiever of the humblest variety. He gives everything to the communities he’s lived in and is recognized time and time again for his contributions, a sentiment carried through in his work at Vivalon.
In 2021, Kelley adjusted to working from home during the pandemic, until his firm asked him to commute into the office in San José. Preferring to stay close to home in Marin, he retired from the firm and called our Healthy Aging Center inquiring about volunteer opportunities after reading about Vivalon in the paper.
Twice a week, Kelley comes to Vivalon’s Healthy Aging Center, sits in his office behind the Guest Services desk with his trusty Directory of Older Adults Services, and helps people find the services they need.
“I very much like talking to older adults,” says Kelley. “It makes me feel great because they tell me that I make them feel good. That’s the best, most rewarding thing you could ever ask for – having somebody appreciate what you’re doing for them. I love this job. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone home and told my wife, Mary, how glad I am to be here.”
Kelley turns 81 this October and says he hopes to be working in the Resource Office until he’s 110!
“I can’t say enough about this place. I really enjoy each and every day I’ve been here and want to be available for the people who call or visit the Healthy Aging Center in need of help or assistance.”