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Kelly Frederick Michael Tobey (born Michael Frederick Tobey) passed away peacefully, with his friends at his side, on January 16, 2024 at the age of 70 in Calgary, Alberta.
He was born on May 11, 1953 in Peterborough, Ontario, and raised there. He was a beloved son, brother, uncle, and close friend of many. Kelly was known for his compassionate caring and acceptance of others. His life was marked by his wisdom, kindness, and the joy he brought to those around him. He possessed a remarkable intelligence and had a smile that could light up any room. With his good humor and jovial personality, he was always a joy to be around. Kelly's countless friends held him in high regard, appreciating his fun-loving and jokester nature. With a wit sharp enough to cut through any deck, Kelly was a master of both cards and camaraderie. He had a knack for making life a joyous game, one he played with the skill of the expert euchre player he was, always trumping challenges with a joke and a wink. He was exceptionally talented at teaching both euchre and life skills. Kelly's life was a vibrant tapestry woven with wisdom, good humor, and an unwavering authenticity that drew people to him like moths to a flame, or as he might have said, like players to a euchre table. Kelly's interests were varied and he pursued them with great passion striving to excel in whatever he did. He was an expert harmonica player, with a natural affinity for the blues. He was also a master euchre player and a table tennis enthusiast. Additionally, Kelly was an accomplished mountain climber, having written his own guidebook (Barrier Bluffs; A Guide) for climbing routes he developed in Kananaskis country. Whether he was diving into a game of table tennis or orchestrating a winning hand in euchre, he was always in it for the joy of the play.
Kelly left his childhood home at the age of 18 and went on an adventure hitchhiking around the U.S. living off the land as much as possible. It was a 7-year transformative experience during which Kelly learned a lot about people and developed the desire to be of help to others. During his travels, he stayed at a commune for a while where he met a cook named Kelly. Impressed by the cook's generosity and how he was admired by everyone, Kelly adopted the cook's name as his own. How he lived up to that name was a testament to Kelly's giving nature and the impact he had on those around him. During his adventure, he collected stories and harmonicas like some collect stamps. His brother Jeff recalls Kelly's return, wearing the same overalls he'd left in 7 years earlier, with more hand-sewn patches than denim and a belt that was less a fashion statement and more a portable music festival holding a dozen harmonicas. His harmonica collection was a testament to his love for music. He specialized in the blues but his collection gave him the ability to play in any key to the tune of any situation from playing in a band to serenading the squirrels.
For work, he held various positions, from humble beginnings in kitchens, to blind hanging, plumbing, and bus driving He even managed some fast food franchises, a brief and bemusing gig as a McDonald's manager though as a dedicated vegetarian, that role was as out of place as a pickle in a fruit salad. He also worked with youth in a group home, showing his dedication to helping others. Each step further shaped his understanding of people from all walks of life. These formative years laid the foundation for his compassionate career.
In the mid-1990s, Kelly discovered his true calling as a spiritual psychologist, counselor, and group facilitator. He founded StarTree Integration Adventures and dedicated over three decades to aiding individuals grappling with life's challenges. He described himself as a Relationship Specialist and Integrative Transformational Processing Facilitator. Through his workshops and retreats, he fostered healing and growth, leaving an immeasurable impact on the lives of thousands. His workshops and retreats brought about healing and love in countless lives. He helped people navigate the routes of their own lives providing guidance and support in overcoming childhood trauma, relationship challenges, parenting issues, LGBTQ matters, and more. His impact was like the butterfly effect, with each person he helped fluttering off to spread positivity far and wide.
After a long and successful career, Kelly retired to Thailand in 2014, enjoying the beauty and tranquility of a tropical paradise for seven years. Unfortunately, he fell ill and returned to Canada in June 2021 to confront the cancer that ultimately claimed his life. Despite his difficult journey with cancer, Kelly's spirit remained unbroken, and his influence continued to resonate with those he had guided.
His parents, Frederick Oliver William Tobey and Lois Ann Tobey (née Godfrey), as well as his siblings Donnie and Barbara, preceded him in death.
Kelly will be sorely missed by his surviving family members, including his brothers Patrick and Jeff, sister Katy, and his extended family: His extended family included a number of nieces and nephews: Brother Donald’s children: Kelly Lynn Peterkin, Leah Sheppard, Melanie Schalk, and Kyle Peterkin. Sister Barb’s children: Robyn Handley, Kirsten Handley, Darren Handley, and Tristan Handley. Brother Jeff’s son: James Anthony Blue Wolf Tobey. Brother Patrick’s sons: Darryl Tobey and David Tobey Kelly also leaves behind a vast community of close friends who were part of his extended chosen family. His impact on the lives of these dear friends cannot be overstated, and his memory will forever live on in their hearts.
Kelly Tobey's legacy of love, laughter, and learning will continue to inspire those he knew. His memory will be forever cherished in the hearts of family and friends, as they celebrate a life well-lived and a soul that brought light to so many. Kelly's curtain call may have come, but the encore of his influence will resonate for generations. Rest in peace, dear maestro of life, your symphony will play on in the hearts of all who knew you.
A Memorial Service to honor Kelly's life will be held on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, at 6:00 pm at the Crescent Heights Community Association (1102 2St. NW in Calgary, Alberta). Attendees are invited to share their memories and stories of Kelly's influence on their lives.
In remembrance of Kelly's vibrant personality, guests are encouraged to wear colorful Hawaiian shirts, reminiscent of his favored attire at retreats.
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Kelly Frederick Michael Tobey, please visit our Tree Store.