Traverse City Community Mourns Passing of Lars Kelto

Heavy hearts in Traverse City as the community remembers Lars Kelto and the mark he left on the area.

Lars passed away on Sunday leaving behind a wife and two young children.

He was involved in a number of community organizations, most notably the Traverse City Film Festival and the Old Town Playhouse.

From the start, Lars Kelto was an integral part of the Traverse City Film Festival. Lending his talents as the technology director and beyond, even making short films for the festival.

“He was a renaissance man. He was a genius both technically and creatively and there just aren’t people like that around anymore. He was good at math and science and engineering and could also sing and dance and play the piano,” said Deb Lake, Executive Director of the Traverse City Film Festival.  

His dedication to the film festival helped make it what it’s become and his love of the Traverse City area touched so many in the community.

“By being so selfless, and sharing his talents with everyone, regardless of what the implications were for him, he made a dramatic impact on so many different people’s lives and so many organizations and he’s one of the reasons Traverse City is so interesting and a wonderful place to live,” said Lake.

The film festival wasn’t the only organization Lars lent his talents to. For more than a decade, he brought passion, energy and plenty of laughs to the stage at the Old Town Playhouse.

“He was just a very artistic individual in every way and people are drawn to that when they have that kind of love. I think he just loved just to be able to channel the different characters and see what he could bring to it and he brought something different every time,” said Colleen Rakunas, Old Town Playhouse Business Manager.

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