Walter T. Kelley
|Education||Apiculture in 1919|
|Alma mater||Michigan State University|
|Known for||Founder of beekeeping equipment company, The Walter T. Kelley Company|
Walter T. Kelley (1897-1986) was an American beekeeper who created a large bee equipment supply and queen breeding company based in Clarkson, Kentucky. Kelley also wrote extensively about apiculture and published the bee journal Modern Beekeeping.
Walter T. Kelley was born in Sturgis, Michigan, in 1897. He interrupted his education to enlist in the Army Signal Corps, 1918, but in a few months was released from service and returned to university. Kelley graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in apiculture in 1919. He worked for the USDA from graduation until 1924 when he started keeping bees full-time in Houma, Louisiana.
Kelley and his wife Ida started a beekeeping supply company, called The Walter T. Kelley Company in 1926. He sold durable cypress hives and woodware originally built in Louisiana then later at his factory in Kentucky. He created or greatly improved upon ventilated bee gloves (1938), wired foundation (1939), bee blowers (1969), and plastic bottom boards (1975). Kelley's business included a 100-acre (400,000 m2) farm in Cade, Louisiana where his queen and package bee operation grew to 1500 colonies. He sold queens and replacement bees throughout North America. After 85 years the company is still providing beekeeping supplies today.
Walter T. Kelley was a prolific and enthusiastic author of beekeeping materials, including his journal Modern Beekeeping founded in 1944. Many of his books and pamphlets were designed to encourage his customers of beewares, including How to Keep Bees and Sell Honey published until at least 1978.
Walter T. and Ida Kelley were major donors to the Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center in nearby Leitchfield and a wing of the hospital was named for them in their honor. He died on August 22, 1986 in Grayson County, Kentucky