Ken Kelley is being remembered as a community-minded man who supported Wilton Manors and LGBT causes with unwavering support.

Kelley passed away at the age of 70 in January after a brave battle with cancer. 

Tributes on social media are pouring in from friends, customers, and former employees. They remember Kelley as a loyal and generous employer — for years, he owned Scandals Saloon in Wilton Manors and the Stable Bar in Oakland Park. Scandals, a longtime area favorite, is known as a place where patrons could enjoy country music and line dancing.

“Nice people, cheap drinks, and fun conversation,” recalls friend Dan Larrimore. “That was the whole idea.”

It opened before Wilton Drive was the entertainment capital of Wilton Manors. Kelley’s charm was also a big draw for patrons. So were Sunday T dances and the once-a-month Gospel Jubilees, both put on at Kelley’s suggestion.

“You’ve never heard such a sound in all your life,” said Larrimore. "We were there to appreciate gospel music, not make fun of it."

Aside from providing a variety of entertainment, those who knew him remember Kelley for his kindness and generosity.

“He always had something funny to say and never had a negative word about anybody,” said friend Jeremy Pettus.

“Ken Kelley never met a stranger,” said Chad Thilborger. “He was kind and would step up to the plate for charities.”

“He was a huge community supporter,” said Terrence Smalley. “He helped raise tons of money for charity. He had a big heart and a great sense of humor. It’s a big loss for many of us.”

Kelley also made an impact by being one-half of a power couple. He and his husband Lloyd Pagels were one of those “it” couples that many people admired. “They were that storybook,” Larrimore said. “They were made for each other.”

In 2018, Kelley sold Scandals, known as a place where patrons could enjoy country music and line dancing. For Kelley, running the business had become too challenging after Pagels’ death eight years ago. Kelley’s battle with cancer was also getting more challenging to fight.

In recent years, Kelley moved back to the Florida panhandle where his sisters helped care for him.


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