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Obituary: John W. Kelly

Kelly died Friday, March 14. He was 85.

John W. Kelly. Photo credit: Joyce Funeral Home
John W. Kelly. Photo credit: Joyce Funeral Home

The following is from Joyce Funeral Home.

Mr. John W. Kelly, of Waltham, formerly of Cambridge, died Friday, March 14, 2014 at Carlyle House in Framingham surrounded by his family. He was 85.

Born in Cambridge on Jan. 10, 1929, he was one of eight children born to the late Roy and Gertrude (Crowley) Kelly. Affectionately known to all who knew him as either "Yakka" or "Jack," he moved to Waltham more than 55 years ago. He was a graduate of Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School and always cherished the lifelong friendships that he made there.

After high school, he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After a year's time and with the services downsizing in the post-war period, John was released from active duty and went to college at the University of Rhode Island where he attended on a football scholarship.

After an injury ended his football and his college career, John came home to Cambridge where he went to work for the New England Telephone Company for the next 39 years. It was there that he met the love of his life, Auburndale native Barbara Mary Collins. They were married for 54 years until Barbara's death on March 30, 2011.

John was an athlete all of his life, excelling in basketball, football, softball and tennis in his younger days and enjoying golf throughout his life. Sports always seemed to come easy and he was proud of having played against the Harlem Globetrotters twice in his basketball life and of achieving a hole-in-one on the fifth hole at Leo J. Martin Golf Course in Weston where he was a longtime member.

Despite all of his ability on the field of sport, he always counted his greatest achievement the family that he and Barbara raised together at their Lakeview home. Many happy memories were born out of summer vacations at the Cape and attending all of the kids school events during their growing up years. Family dinners were always begun with what John considered the greatest of all toasts, "Health and happiness" . . . nothing more; nothing less; nothing more needed. A life lesson taught well.

He leaves his children, John J. Kelly of Acton, Daniel W. Kelly and his wife, Linda, of Franklin, William P. Kelly and his wife, Julie, of Natick, Brian Kelly and his wife, Nadine, of Barnstable and Rosemary Kelly and her partner, David Vollor, of Natick; his grandchildren who with the greatest love and affection called him 'Grampy,' D.J., Courtney, Patrick, Christopher, Cameron, Rainey, Molly, Casey and Caitlyn; his sister, Patricia Tietz, of Tennessee; his sister-in-law, Rita Collins, of Framingham and many nieces and nephews.

John was also a brother of the late Paul, Eleanor, Frederick, Joseph, Charles and Ruth Kelly.

Family and friends will honor and remember John's life by gathering for calling hours in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main St. (Route 20), Waltham, on Wednesday, March 19, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. and again at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning before leaving in procession to Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Church, 880 Trapelo Road, Waltham, where his funeral mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Burial will follow in Holyhood Cemetery, Brookline.

Memorial donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.

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