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Kelly D. Tessendorf

Kelly D. Tessendorf Kelly Dustin Tessendorf, born the second son of Randa Tessendorf and Melodie Donnelly Pooler entered the world, April 03,1979, in Manhattan, Ks. Sadly, he passed away, September 14, 2020 in Atlanta, Ga.

Kelly lived in Wamego and attended the local schools until he moved with his family to Manhattan. He attended Lee Elementary, Manhattan Middle School and Manhattan High from which he graduated with honors in 1997.

Kelly attended Kansas State and Ohio State studying interior design. He was a life-long student, always trying to become better informed and educated. He enjoyed an eager appetite that was never satisfied for knowledge with an interest in everything. He found great pleasure in traveling to different destinations across the map and for a time lived in Ohio, California and Georgia where he joined his sister, nieces and nephew in Atlanta.

Kelly was extremely inquisitive, a creative and talented artist. He played the saxophone and was an extraordinary designer. From an early age, he was drawn to the arts, be it music, the theater, the written word, antiques, and more. Kelly enjoyed collecting unique pieces, especially mid-century furnishings and art.

He was a huge K-State, Chief`s and Royals fan and savored the time tailgating at the K-State football games with his family and friends. The love he had for his brother Matthew was unlimited and he treasured the times they spent together, attending sporting events, fishing, chasing storms and tornados and many family gatherings.

Without a doubt, of all the things he was in life, he was proudest of being an uncle to Arianna, Isabella and Eric Matthew. They filled his heart with boundless love and made him strive to be a better person. In return they freely gave him unlimited love and affection and that in return gifted Kelly with healing and hope.

For more than ten years, Kelly struggled endlessly with mental illness, unable to come to terms with the death of his older brother Matthew. His family couldn`t have been prouder of him for his constant dedication to overcoming the challenges he faced each and every day. To his many friends, community and family he was a hero and by his actions encouraged us to find our own strength and fortitude. He served as an excellent example of what it means to never give up. He met every painful and challenging battle with undying determination and character. He fought hard to find answers to his illness and to embrace the lessons that were his to learn. The many battles he courageously fought became too heavy of a burden to carry and he made the heartbreaking decision to end his life.

Kelly was a most beautiful soul. He was kind and compassionate, always ready and willing to help anyone in any way he could. He loved animals and had a special connection with cats. He respected nature and cared deeply about the pain others suffered. In every way possible Kelly was committed to making the world a better place for all living things and championed every cause that worked toward that valuable goal.

Kelly was a life-long member of the Riley County Democrats and a passionate advocate for LGBTQ equality, BLM, animal rights and equal rights for all. He gave and he gave freely of his time, talent, money and energy to the issues that mattered the most to him.

Kelly was preceded in death by his brother Matthew Tessendorf, father Randa Tessendorf, grandparents Lawrence Donnelly, Gilbert and Christeen Tessendorf and his two precious felines Billie and Buddy.

Left to honor his memory and fulfill his legacy include his mother Melodie Pooler, step-father Ned Valentine, sister Ashley Tessendorf Vargo, nieces Arianna Vargo, Isabella Vargo and nephew Eric Matthew Vargo. His aunt and uncle, Jane and Bill Conrad and cousins Ari and Sean Conrad of St. Cloud Minnesota. Jill Weitz of Bronx, New York, Eloitt Weitz of San Diego, his great Aunt Betty Weitz of Chappaqua, New York and his brother from another mother, Nirav Bhakta and wife Poonam.

A visitation is planned for Tuesday, September 22, 5-7pm at Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, Manhattan, Ks. A Celebration of Life will be held Wednesday, September 23 at 11:00 am in the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Chapel. Social distancing will be in effect and masks are required. Online services will be available on the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home Facebook page and will be posted soon after the service on the website.

If it pleases you, memorials can be offered to T. Russell Reitz Regional Animal Shelter, preferably directed toward the care of the cat sanctuary. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502.

Online condolences may be left for the family by clicking on "Send Condolences" on this page.

Kelly`s family is deeply grateful and forever indebted to the many friends and wonderful community that offered unconditional love and support during his long and well fought battle with mental illness. Please, always remember you made a meaningful and powerful difference in his life.

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