Remembering Kelly J. Doran (1957 – 2023)

Kelly J. Doran, 66, longtime Twin Cities real estate developer and founder of The Doran Group, passed away on December 28, 2023, after battling cancer. Kelly was larger than life, lived boldly and had a giant heart. He loved to tell stories and laugh, while always seeing the silver lining in any situation.

Born in Duluth in 1957, Kelly was inspired by his single mother, Donna, to use his public education to make a difference in the world. Raised alongside his older sisters Janis, Jean and Nancy, Kelly graduated from Minneapolis Southwest High School (Class of ‘75) before earning an undergraduate degree and an MBA from the University of Minnesota.

Kelly is widely recognized as a leader in the multi-family housing industry, completing dozens of high-profile projects across the Twin Cities and Denver, including luxury apartments and student housing. He partnered for many years with his mentor and friend Robert Muir, developing millions of square feet of shopping centers. In 2007, Kelly founded Doran Companies and began building housing, later selling the company and moving the management of his real estate portfolio into The Doran Group, now run by his son Evan. Although not an architect, Kelly loved to lead in the creation of designs that added to the fabric of the community. The handprints of this work on innovative design are located throughout our communities.

Kelly was an enthusiastic advocate for education, supporting numerous scholarships, grants, and programs for students of all ages. Kelly always believed that education was the best route for success and for breaking down the barriers faced by all. He was also a generous supporter of healthcare organizations and causes as well as the arts.

But above all, Kelly cherished his family. He was a devoted husband to Connie, the love of his life. He and Connie married in 2013, and have blended their lives and their families together, traveling the world and enjoying time together at their homes in Minneapolis, Florida and northern Minnesota. He was also a loving father to his beautiful children, always ready to provide support, guidance, and love to Evan (Bekah), Kramer and Sydney Doran, as well as his stepchildren Alexandra Ginter (Joel Fowler), Mack (Kami) Grady and Elle (Daniel) Weaver. And last, but not least, he was an adoring grandfather (Pops) to his grandchildren Ruby and Naomi, and step grandchildren Henry, William and Gavin – all of whom brought him endless joy, smiles, and happiness. Kelly is also survived by his sister Nancy Cooper (Charles Castillo) of Edina, MN and his stepsister Maria (John) Threat of Blue Earth, MN. He is preceded in death by his mother, Donna Doran; father, Jerry Doran (Barbara); and sisters Jean Kraus, Janis Griffin, and Joan Doran.

Kelly leaves behind a legacy of excellence, integrity, and generosity that will continue to inspire and uplift others. His impact on the real estate industry, the Twin Cities community, and all who knew and loved him will be felt for generations to come. Rest in peace, Kelly. You are loved and deeply missed.

A funeral service will be held at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church located at 5025 Knox Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN 55419, on Friday, January 5, 2024, at 2:00 p.m. The service will be followed by a Celebration of Life at Interlachen Country Club located at 6200 Interlachen Blvd, Edina, MN 55436. Family, friends, and colleagues are invited to attend. The Doran family wishes to thank the care teams at Mayo Clinic, Minnesota Oncology and Grace Hospice. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to Grace Hospice:

LIVESTREAM of the service is available at: