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Obituary: Edward R. Kelley

Published  in November 2018

November 6, 1935 – November 27, 2018

Edward R. Kelley, 83, died at Norwood Hospital on Tuesday, November 27, with his family by his side. Ed was a recent resident of Foxboro and former resident of Andover for 52 years.

Born in Lowell, MA, Ed was the son of late William L. Kelley and Eleanor M. (Foye) Kelley. He was a graduate of Lowell High, class of 1953. As a Specialist Third Class in the U.S. Army 1956-1958, Ed took particular pride in his time serving in the Pentagon. He then went on to graduate with a master’s degree in Education from Lowell State, class of 1963.

Ed taught math in Lowell middle schools for 35 years and retired from the Robinson school in 1998. He continued teaching regularly as a substitute in Lowell and Andover middle schools until 2012. Ed thoroughly enjoyed teaching and his positive, lasting impact on students was evident over the years. In addition to teaching, Ed also spent summers working as a painter and landscaper, ever the hard worker for his family.

With heart and soul, Ed’s main focus was his family. He was a loving husband to wife Ann. He was a remarkable father who would do anything for his three sons. And Ed was a teacher, mentor and friend to his grandchildren. When son Dick was afflicted with ALS in 2012 Ed devoted himself to being a caregiver. Then in 2016 when wife Ann was diagnosed with cancer, Ed continued his roll of caregiver with devotion and immeasurable love.

Ed was predeceased by the love of his life, wife of 55 years, Ann Marie (Daley) Kelley on March 15, 2018, as well as his beloved son Richard W. Kelley on February 13, 2014. He is survived by son Ted Kelley, his wife Carrie, their children Ryan and Meghan of Foxboro; son Patrick Kelley and his children Micky, Emma, and Talan of Andover.

Friends and family are respectfully invited to attend calling hours on Friday from 4-7pm at Conte Funeral Home at 28 Florence St, Andover. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday at 9am, in St. Augustine’s church. Burial in West Parish Cemetery will follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Compassionate Care ALS, P.O. Box 1052, West Falmouth, MA 02574.

Ed Kelley: His work on Earth was done

By Michael Muldoon | Published in the Eagle Tribune, November 28, 2018


Courtesy photo/ Yadira Betances Muldoon Ed Kelley of Andover with his wife Ann.

ANDOVER — Years ago, I was thinking: What would I write if Mr. Kelley died?

That may sound morbid, but not really for a newspaper man. That’s what we do.

I’d write about Ed’s marriage to Ann, a marriage filled with extraordinary love and sacrifice, joy and pain.

I’d write about his three boys, who he loved so much, and the special relationship he had with his grandchildren Micky, Emma, Talan, Ryan and Meghan.

But then in September of 2011, his middle son, Dick Kelley, was diagnosed with ALS.

Mr. Kelley went from a man I admired, to one I was in awe of.

He’d travel the 40 miles from Andover to Dick’s place in Boston daily to care for him, to love him, to let him know once again that family always comes first. It was a 10-hour day and Ed was nearly 80, but he never complained. Not once.

Pete Thamel, then of Sports Illustrated, wrote a brilliant piece on Dick, the longtime sports information director at Boston College.

I can never forget one line from the story.

“(Ed) leaves around 8 p.m., sometimes with tears streaming down his face so hard on the ride home that he has to pull over for a few minutes.”

That’s the man I’ll remember. He died Tuesday at age 83. Simply put, it was from a broken heart.

Ann, his wife of 55 years, died in the spring after a long fight with cancer and Dick succumbed to ALS in 2014.

He did everything he could to make their final months in Ann’s case, and years in Dick’s case, happy.

I knew he’d outlive his ailing son and his ailing wife. The caregiver in him made sure of it.

Mr. Kelley delighted telling the story if Ted and his wife Carrie ever got divorced, it was Ted who would no longer be welcome in the house! He, and everyone else, would howl.

But he knew better than anyone what it meant to have a special spouse. Ann was lovely, inside and out, and a true scholar, graduating No. 2 in her class from what is now UMass Lowell.

JUST NEEDED CHANCE

Mr. Kelley’s father knew someone at UMass Lowell who skeptically said he’d give Ed a chance.

“One chance,” he was warned, with the expectation being that he wouldn’t make it.

That sounds silly now. He was a great middle school teacher in Lowell who loved the classroom and impacting lives.

After a stint in the military, he returned to college in his mid-20s and outworked everyone. To get his degree and to get that special girl from Lawrence, Ann Daley.

Not surprisingly for a sportswriter, I was always a sports nut. So I was on cloud 9 shortly after graduating from Andover High that I met Ted Kelley and E.J. Perry, younger Andover High students destined for athletic greatness.

I remember coming home from St. Michael’s College, unable to find a ride to the other side of town. Next thing I know, Mr. Kelley swings by the old Valle’s Steak House on Rte. 93 and says, “Hop in.”

As he let me out at home, he said with an earnestness that set me aback, “You’re Teddy’s friend. You ever need a ride, you ever need anything, you call me.”

TEDDY’S FRIEND

The other time I recalled hearing “You’re Teddy’s friend” we were driving home one of Ted’s teammates from the famed Boston Amateur Basketball Club (AAU) team. Greg Simpson was a super-smooth point guard from the meanest streets of Roxbury.

It was about 9 p.m. after a long practice on a cold winter night. Mr. Kelley insisted upon driving home “Captain Smooth” as the playground legend with the full scholarship to Northeastern was known. It was well out of his way but he was Teddy’s friend.

As we got nearer to his home in the projects, Simpson insisted, “Mr. Kelley, ‘Drop me here.’”

Mr. Kelley would have none of that. Teddy’s friends were dropped at their front door. But Simpson said this was a dangerous area and the Kelleys had already done too much. It didn’t matter. Greg Simpson was going to be dropped at his front door.

To this day, for a kid from Andover, I don’t know if I have ever been so scared.

GREAT STORYTELLER

He was quite the story teller, and as a writer I appreciated how Mr. Kelley always had just the right amount of hyperbole. If Ted scored 30 points, a few years later it was always 40!

The boys were all different but he and Mrs. Kelley loved them all equally.

Ted was the 6-foot-5 gifted athlete with the burning desire, just like his old man, to prove people wrong.

How could a kid from Andover play in the legendary Big East against Patrick Ewing and Pearl Washington and Ed Pinckney?

That was his goal and his father just said “hit the books, be a good person, and give ‘em the pump fake, they’ll jump to the moon every time!”

Mr. Kelley would drive Ted hundreds of miles a week to Boston, Providence, Manchester for games or practices. Often it was after teaching school in Lowell and painting houses as a second job. That’s what Lowell kids did, they outworked you.

Dick was the brainy one with the top grades, the biting sarcasm and the heart of gold. He loved BC and BC loved him.

Patrick is probably closest to Mr. Kelley personality-wise. A tough guy formerly related by marriage to the great Lowell boxer Micky Ward. He is a popular instructor at Title Boxing Club in North Andover.

COACH AT HEART

Mr. Kelley knew his sports, particularly baseball and basketball. He coached at Andover High, Lowell High, Merrimack College and Northern Essex. One of his great memories was coaching Methuen’s Steve Bedrosian, the future Cy Young Award winner.

He knew Ted could dominate inside in high school but, to go places, he had to have guard skills. Mr. Kelley had put up a hoop on the garage and without any prompting, Ted wore out net after net, honing his skills.Ted is from Andover, but he has a little blue-collar Lowell in him, too.

A towering teammate, probably inadvertently, said something about a family member that rubbed Ted the wrong way.

Ted, just a BC freshman at the time, was in his far bigger, far older, star teammate’s face in an instant.

“If you ^&*# ever speak about my family …”

Family always comes first.

And if you were in Ed Kelley’s family, biological or extended, you were a very lucky person indeed.

¢¢¢

E-mail Michael Muldoon at mmuldoon@eagletribune.com.

Kelley Services

Calling hours: Friday, 4-7 p.m., Conte Funeral Home, Florence Street, Andover. Mass: Saturday, 9 a.m., St. Augustine’s Church, Andover. Burial at West Parish Cemetery to follow.

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