Kerry Kelts died on 8 February 2001 at the age of 54 from Hodgkin's disease. A professor in the department of geology and geophysics at the University of Minnesota, he was also director of that university's Limnological Research Center from 1990 to 2000. Kerry had been a member of AGU since 1982 (Ocean Sciences).

Kerry was a leader in establishing the utility of lake sedimentary records as archives, not only of past climate, but of past biogeochemical, tectonic, and anthropogenic processes. He educated us on the daunting complexity and individuality of lake systems, and demonstrated that lacustrine sequences can be interpreted as profitably as marine sequences. Kerry believed that terrestrial paleoclimate records are an essential complement to those from the ocean: while the ocean plays a substantial role in driving climate, lakes respond to actual conditions on the continents.