Earnest Kelley Jr. is a Retiree on the Move



Meet Earnest Kelley Jr.

By Beverly Clark, RLACEI Publicity Director

Earnest Kelley Jr.

Earnest Kelley Jr. retired on Oct. 26, 2009, as a Roofing Supervisor with Recreation and Parks. Earnest is very proud of his accomplishment of having been employed with the City for 36 years. He started his City career in 1973 with Public Works/Public Sewer Maintenance. He briefly was employed with LAPD for five months and then became a Maintenance and Construction Helper with Street Maintenance. In 1977, he transferred to Recreation and Parks and advanced to Sr. Roofer.

Earnest Fishing.

Earnest loves retirement, and his hobbies are vast. He is an avid fisherman and hunter. He hunts for wild hogs on leased land about twice a year. He has a lake on his property and can fish anytime he wants, which is about two to three times a week catching crappie bass, catfish and bluegills. He’s also spotted an alligator in the lake.

Earnest says other hobbies and chores are painting and carpentry. He does most of the handiwork on his property in Texas. These activities also keep him busy and content.

Earnest collects art and loves to visit antique stores. His other talents include baking, and he loves to barbecue for family gatherings. He’s the designated “go-to” person for help in organizing family reunions.

He has two sons, four daughters and two grandsons.


Earnest has found his niche in retirement where he lives some of the year in California and the rest of the year in Texas on his serene lakeside property.

He says he’s not very involved with any specific organizations because his hobbies keep him busy. However, his involvement is to help people when he sees them in need. He believes in “paying it forward” and has been known to pay for someone’s food in line at the market or give someone his hat or shoes on a raining day.

Any words of wisdom for Retirees or those about to retire?

“Have a plan and stick to it. I was being groomed for my Supervisor’s position and had planned to work 40 years, but when my Supervisor retired a month before, I decided it was time for me to go. I had already purchased a place in Texas and purchased my home in 2006.”

What was the smartest thing you did to prepare for retirement, or did you plan on retiring when you did?

“I knew exactly what I wanted to do in retirement, so I bought my home in Texas before I retired.”

What do you miss or don’t miss about your years of service to the City of Los Angeles?

Earnest chilling.

“I miss the morning meetings we would have before being dispatched to do our daily routines. That was a time to catch up with what was going at work but also with coworkers.

“I had a very good supervisor – everybody knew what to do and did it. I miss the guys I would hang out with in the morning before work begin and talk about the game the night before. We had time to talk about sports and just build a camaraderie with fellow employees.”

As an avid golfer, Earnest reminisces about meeting with the guys to play a round of golf. He says he was also a talented baseball player.

As you reflect on your City career, would you have done anything differently?

“No. I enjoyed my City career. I probably would have started taking City exams sooner, however, I love the way things turned out. I have no complaints.”

How do you fill your days in retirement?

“I love antiquing. I look for stuff at marketplaces.”

If you could change one thing about retired life, what would that be?

“Seniors over 65 should not have to pay school taxes!”

Since the Shelter-in-Place mandate, how has life changed for you?

“Life has not changed much, but we do not have family functions and reunions as much. I still fish but have not been hunting since the pandemic. I keep myself busy, so I am not bored. My socializing now consists of going on Facebook more and having Zoom calls with 50 to 60 family members. I’ve also found new relatives from ancestry.com.

“Retirement has been great for me and I’m enjoying every day. I love that I am able to spend some time in Texas and some time in California. It is the best of both worlds!”