Doug Kelsey Passes


AFDCS Executive Secretary Douglas A. Kelsey passed away Tuesday, July 28, in Tucson, Arizona. He had suffered a stroke a month earlier, and was infected by the coronavirus during his recuperation. Doug served the AFDCS as its Executive Director and Executive Secretary for nearly 30 years.

We will miss him, both as our behind-the-scenes leader and guide, and as a friend.

Service Arrangements.

Douglas A. Kelsey: 1949–2020

AFDCS Executive Secretary Douglas A. (Doug) Kelsey, 70, of Tucson, Arizona, died on July 28 after suffering a stroke in mid-June and developing COVID-19 complications in the hospital.

“For nearly 30 years, as volunteers and leaders came and went, Doug was the backbone of the society, guiding us and providing the support that kept this organization running,” said AFDCS President Lloyd A. de Vries. “But more than that, Doug was a friend, and I will miss him personally.”

Kelsey was born September 3, 1949. He served as AFDCS executive director from 1991 until 2011, at which time the position was altered and named executive secretary. He also served many years on the society’s board of directors.

Kelsey began collecting in 1960 and exhibiting in 1962. His wide collecting interests included first day covers, meter stamps, airmails, postal stationery, revenues, and Brazil and Australia.

In 2002 he won the Americover grand award for his 1962 Project Mercury first day covers. He received the society’s Glenn Michel special recognition award in 2001, its Distinguished Service Award in 2007, and was named AFDCS Honorary Life Member 21 in 2008. In 2012 Kelsey was honored by the American Philatelic Society with its Nicholas Carter Volunteer Award for national promotion and service. He was an accredited APS judge.

Kelsey held offices in several organizations including executive director of the American Topical Association, vice president and director of the United States Philatelic Classics Society, treasurer of the St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Philatelic Society, president of the Machine Cancel Society, executive director of the Postal History Foundation, and secretary-treasurer of the Meter Stamp Society.

Kelsey has authored several hundred articles, columns, catalogues, and monographs, including the United States Meter Stamps First Days and Earliest Known Uses, published by the AFDCS in 1996. For fourteen years he authored a column for Linn’s Stamp News and was former editor of the Postal History Foundation’s Heliograph.

Following seven years’ service in the United States Air Force, Kelsey was an executive for Coca-Cola Bottling, where he was responsible for sales, distribution, advertising, and special projects. He then served as executive director of American Outback—a non-profit organization devoted to the preservation of American wildlife and wilderness. Before joining AFDCS he was executive director of the Postal History Foundation for four years. He was also executive director of the Tucson Association of Executives from 1999 until his death.


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