My name is Fred Phillips and I met A.  Kelly four months ago and was incredibly moved by meeting him, I was introduced by David and Kay Crum and Terry Bishop, they were showing me areas on the Rio Grande to restore back to their native plant communities.  You can see restoration of rivers I've done on my web site

I went back to texas two weeks ago to camp at a kellys with david kay and some others and to start some restoration on some of terrys land.

It  turned out to be a sad, but very special weekend.  As you know A. Kelly passed.  I was with him during his last moments of life and also lowered him to his resting place.  It was a beautiful funeral and I was honored and humbled by the expierience.  I am writing a story on it and would be glad to send it to you if you would like. I remember him talking about you.

My condolences for your and the worlds loss of this great man.

Fred Phillips
Feb. 23, 2009

Pawnee's response:

Dear Fred,

Thank you so much for your beautiful email.

Kelly was a man who was easy to love.  He often quoted the lines a poem. It goes:

Oh! To be like the simple folk,
easy to live with, easy to work with and easy to love.

I don't recall the author's name at the moment.

Its still very difficult for me to realize that Kelly isn't here anymore. Thank you for being there for him. Words cannot express how much it means to me to know that there were loving and caring people with him to help ease the transition. I look forward to your story.

with love,

Thanks for the email.  I only knew him for a total of three days but will be affected by his spirit for the rest of my life.

About 20 minutes after he died Kay, David, Terry and I were standing by his bed.  I remember thinking what do we do?  I have a Navajo Elder who is a shaman and one of my best friends, his name is John Scott.  He has taught me many things about life, A. Kelly reminded me much of my friend, especially how he looked into your eyes and soul. John taught me that when someone dies that you need to put an eagle feather in their hand so they can fly into the next life, where the rainbows are.  We all held each others hands and then I prayed to the Great Spirit for his safe journey into the next world, that he is taken care of and that his spirit lives in all of us and that we take that spirit and continue what he gave the world. I then took an eagle feather from a spear that was hanging in his bus, and placed it in his hand, he was buried with it.

I also played on my guitar and harmonica my heros have always been cowboys, by Willie Nelson,  Indian Car, by Keith Secola and Amazing Grace as we where putting him in the ground. A gentleman that new him in Presidio gave a beautiful benediction and then we all spent two hours filling in the grave, taking turns with the heavy work.  He was buried in a north /south direction with his hat, and two stuffed animals. When we were filling the grave his dogs and wolf were in the bus where he died and starting crying in a way I can't describe, it was so sad.  I hope they are OK.

During the burial, one of Terry's sisters said that A. Kelly was all about the stories in life, then she said in his death he also left us a story that will be passed on for years.

Have a blessed day