Lynda Collins Kelley

Nov 16, 2012

1954 — 2012

WATKINSVILLE, GEORGIA — Lynda Collins Kelley, 58, died Nov. 14, 2012.

Born in Lincolnton, she was the daughter of Emma Janet Highfil Collins and the late William Henry Collins.

Lynda’s extraordinary career was marked by many successes. She earned a B.S. in animal sciences from North Carolina State University, and was selected for Alpha Zeta and Phi Kappa Phi. She went on to earn her DVM from Ohio State University, where she was selected for the OSU Program for Academic Excellence for Women, and elected to the OSU Task Force for Professional Schools. She earned her PhD in veterinary pathology from the University of Georgia, and was the National Resident Research Award from the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, and elected for Phi Zeta. She also earned the Pathology Research Award for Excellence in Research. She worked as a large animal vet before becoming a pathologist for the U. S. Department of Agriculture in 1987. She maintained her state license and national accreditation for veterinary medicine throughout her career with the USDA. She later became a senior scientist for the USDA, and served on the Biological Weapons Team of the United Nations in Vienna in 2003. Later in 2003, she became the strategic manager for research for the Food Safety Inspection Services of the USDA, a position she held until her demise. In 2002, she earned the USDA Secretary’s Honor Award for Heroism and Emergency Response.

In 2011, Lynda was recognized by the Secretary of Agriculture for contributions to and service in the public’s interest. Lynda was the 2012 recipient of the Dr. Daniel E. Salmon Award for Exemplary Achievement in Federal Veterinary Medicine. Additionally, she earned 17 different recognitions from the USDA in the form of Certificates of Merit, Merit Performance Awards, and Certificates of Appreciation, among other awards. Lynda had unparalleled knowledge of biological weapons, food safety, and food security, and extensive teaching experience in veterinary pathology. She was respected by colleagues a leading expert in her field. Dr. Michael J. Gildorf said when he nominated her for the Salmon award that Lynda was, “ . . . one of USDA – Food Safety Inspector Service’s (FSIS) most respected and valued veterinarians, Dr. Kelley epitomizes the federal service legacy of Dr. Salmon in improving this nation’s and the world’s public health and disease control efforts.”

Her daughter would like to add: “She was the best mother anyone could ask for. Even though she was incredibly intelligent and received

numerous awards, she was the most humble person on earth. She was so generous and loving and gave aid to anyone who needed it without a second thought. Our mother was a true angel on earth.”

Her son John would like to add, “My mother was the most amazing woman ever. She lived two lives: one for her family and friends, and one for the public good.”

Survivors, in addition to her mother, include her children, Anna Rebecca Kelley, of Watkinsville, and John Guthrie Kelley, of Brooklyn, New York; brother, William Henry Collins Jr., of Asheville; and nephew, Justin Collins.

Funeral services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at St. James United Methodist Church. Interment will be in Lincolnton.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 6 to to 8 p.m. Friday.

Donations will be accepted for Anna’s college education.

Lord & Stephens West is in charge of arrangements. Visit