Mendham & Peapack
Obituary of Paul J Kelly, Sr
Paul Joseph Kelly, Sr. passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, December 15, 2022, at the age of 91 in New Smyrna Beach, FL, with his wife, Claire, by his side.
Born June 25, 1931, in Philadelphia during The Great Depression, Paul was the middle of five children. Paul’s family had their share of hardships like so many others of the time, but his experiences helped shape him into the resilient, tender, compassionate, and loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend, and neighbor that he was.
Upon graduating high school, Paul enlisted into the US Air Force in 1951 at the start of the Korean War, where he served as a Staff Sergeant on the Philippine Island of Luzon at Clark Air Base. While home on leave in 1955, Paul met Eileen Marie Mullen, and their relationship took off. Paul and Eileen married in 1956 and started a family. Their family grew and grew, and grewsome more, until they had eight children – two girls and six boys. Paul and Eileen were devoted and loving parents.
Using the GI Bill, Paul earned a Bachelor of Science in Business at St. Joseph’s University, attending night school while working for AT&T and parenting three children under the age of four. After a series of career assignments in Maryland, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, Paul moved his family to Mendham, NJ, in 1972, where his children were able to establish roots and make lifetime friendships. He retired after 33 years with AT&T in 1989. Shortly thereafter, Paul and Eileen moved (this time alone!) to the beach at Sea Isle City, NJ, and then in 1999, to New Smyrna Beach, FL, where they both lived out their lives. His wife, Eileen, predeceased him in 2004. Paul later met and married a delightful woman, Claire MacDonnell (who also had eight adult children), from the greater Boston area. Claire was always a lively, engaging, and constantcompanion to Paul, and she steadfastly cared for him as his health failed in recent years, never complaining, or asking for help.
Quick witted, well-read, and an avid history buff, Paul loved politics, exercising, and playing pickup basketball every weekday at the YMCA until a hard foul left him with a broken arm and ended his playing days prematurely at age 56. He was elected a Councilman (D) of MendhamBorough in 1976 and proudly served the town he loved and called home longer than any other. He rooted for the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles, and for Notre Dame football. He was a daily communicant in the Catholic faith. In addition to volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, he was a steady supporter of the Haitian Health Foundation and accompanied their medical teams more than once to Haiti to provide much needed health care. Paul was a wonderful dad who had a knack for making each of his children feel special in so many ways small and large. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
Paul was predeceased by his parents, John P. Kelly and Jane C. Kelly (nee Donohue), brothers Robert, John, James, sister Jane, wife Eileen Kelly (nee Mullen), and sons John P. Kelly and James T. Kelly. He is survived by his wife, Claire MacDonnell Kelly, his children Mary (Dick)Darian of Mt. Pleasant, SC, Eileen Kelly of New Smyrna Beach, FL, Paul (Beth) Kelly of Oviedo, FL, Patrick (Hilary) Kelly of Mendham, NJ, Thomas Kelly of West Palm Beach, FL, Matthew(Michelle Roers) Kelly of Morristown, NJ, and his grandchildren Brian (Sarah Olsen) Darian, Kelly (Nate) Madigan, Matthew Darian, Shannon Kelly, Paul Kelly III, Alexander Kelly, Janie Kelly, Lily Anna Kelly, and great-grandchildren Parker, Campbell, Penelope, Charlotte, and Tripp.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Paul’s memory may be made to Sacred Heart Parish, 1739 Ferry Avenue, Camden, NJ 08104 or Haitian Health Foundation, 97 Sherman Street, Norwich, CT 06360.
Visitation will be held on Monday, December 19th from 4-8pm at Bailey Funeral Home, 8 Hilltop Road, Mendham. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, December 20th at 10:30 am, St Joseph Church, 8 W. Main Street, Mendham. Interment to follow at Mendham Hilltop Cemetery, 14 HIlltop Road, Mendham.
To attend the funeral mass virtually please click on the following link https://boxcast.tv/view/paul-kelly-sr-
8 Hilltop Road
Mendham, NJ 07945
176 Main Street
Peapack NJ 07977
For GPS Purposes use Gladstone, NJ 07934