Soon after Leigh Kellis started making doughnuts in her kitchen in 2011, her father, Allan Kellis, jumped in to help.

He would show up at 6 every morning to make deliveries to coffee shops and retailers like Coffee by Design and Whole Foods. For the next five months, he delivered doughnuts and worked tirelessly to help his daughter grow the wholesale business and secure a retail space.

Mr. Kellis helped fulfill his daughter’s dream of opening The Holy Donut, which opened its doors on Park Avenue in Portland in March of 2012.

Allan Kellis, a co-owner of The Holy Donut who was instrumental in making the business the popular destination it is today, died Monday from pancreatic cancer. He was 68.

He was remembered this week as a kind, loving and happy guy who brought joy and positivity to those around him.

Leigh Kellis said her father loved being at the shop, and was there every day.

“He was the happy, jolly doughnut guy,” she said. “He was always chit-chatting with the customers. He loved to talk about the doughnuts. He was so proud. He was really good at making people feel comfortable at the shop.”

Allan and Leigh Kellis teamed up to make The Holy Donut a popular destination and expand to three locations. Family photo

Since 2012, the Holy Donut has expanded to three locations, two in Portland and one in Scarborough. Now, Mr. Kellis’s daughter and son-in-law Elizabeth and Jeffrey Buckwalter are also running the business. Leigh Kellis credits her father for their success.

“My dad fit right in,” she said. “He was a jolly soul. It was a nice way for us to spend the past six years together … trying to put something positive out to the world. That was our goal. That was our mission and it will continue to be.”

Mr. Kellis lived in Scarborough with his wife, Cynthia Kellis. She shared stories Wednesday about their life together and a history that dates back 46 years.

“We had this deep soul connection,” she said. “We were soulmates. The last few years were a gift. It was sweet, kind and respectful.”

Mr. Kellis was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February of 2015. His wife said they made the most of each day and took nothing for granted.

The couple spent much of the last two years traveling across the country. They visited several national parks out west, and went to Italy, Mexico and the Bahamas.

“He had a great love and passion for the Civil War,” she said. “We went to Charleston, South Carolina. Everywhere we went, it was all about the history.”

His wife said he handled his illness with grace and dignity.

“He never complained,” she said. “He totally accepted his diagnosis from that moment. He was able to truly live in the moment. He didn’t worry about tomorrow or yesterday, or have regrets about anything. He lived simply about the moment he was in. It was a great lesson for all of us … to be able to stay in the moment.

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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