Barry Kelner loves the charm and nostalgia of listening to Minnesota Twins baseball games on the radio. It takes him back to his childhood and the days of Harmon Killebrew, Mudcat Grant and Jim Kaat. Times were simpler, and there was something beautiful about being huddled around the radio clinging to every word.
Barry’s love for the game also carries weight with his son, Marshall, who caught the fever and worked his way into the broadcast booth for the Fort Myers Miracle, the Twins’ Class A Advanced affiliate. Two of Barry’s greatest passions, baseball and family, came together in a beautiful marriage that was no coincidence.
“My dad is my best friend and hero in many ways,” Marshall said. “He is selfless, kind, smart, and has always supported me in everything I have done. He gave me my passion for baseball and politics. I cherish our daily phone conversations where we talk about the Twins and current events, and I would say that he’s definitely one of the kindest people you will ever meet.
“As much as he has accomplished in his life, what I admire most is the kind of person he is.”
Kindness is so well-ingrained in Barry that he couldn’t put himself before his family if he tried. That goes for his three younger siblings, his four children and his wife Nancy, but also to a host of friends and strangers alike. Barry has always had a knack for helping others and going above and beyond to be there for his family.
“He is selfless about giving advice and showing love to his family,” Marshall said. “That’s the most important thing in his life. He leads a lot by example in the way he lives his life. He always taught us about the golden rule to treat others how you’d like to be treated.”
That life philosophy can explain why Barry only thought of his family during one of the most nerve-racking moments of his life. In the hospital with a mysterious kidney ailment, he was later diagnosed with Goodpasture Syndrome and immediately got emotional. He wasn’t worried for himself as much as he was for his family.
“He was very emotional and asked the doctor a question,” Marshall said. “It wasn’t about himself. The first question he asked was if he could pass it to his kids. He was very, very emotional.”
Barry has thankfully made a full recovery — and no, the disease could not be passed to his family — and returned to being the husband, father and friend everyone has known him to be. He still works as hard in his position at U.S. Bank as anyone on the planet and loves his family like it’s another full-time job.
For Father’s Day, Marshall wants to express his appreciation for his dad’s friendship, the lessons he taught him and the passion for sports that led him to chase his dream as a radio broadcaster.
“I’m so grateful for his love and for everything he has done for me throughout my life,” Marshall said. “I’m happy that the kidney thing is long in the past and he’s able to enjoy his life.”