Robert George Kelly and Nelda Jean Kelly died on Dec. 15, 2013 as the result of injuries sustained in an automotive accident while visiting family in Phoenix, AZ.
They leave behind their grown (married) children, Kari Cohn and her husband, Mark, of Phoenix, AZ and Christopher E. Kelly and his wife, Kristen, of Pound Ridge, NY. Also, beloved grandchildren, Brittany Cohn and Seven Kelly, and Robert Kelly's brother Harold J. Kelly and his wife, Shannon, of Jacksonville, Fl. He was preceded in death by his parents, Harold J. Kelly, Sr. and Laura R. Kelly, long-time residents of South Salem.
Nelda Kelly was preceded in death by her parents, Edward J. Kendrick and Letha Kendrick, of Midland, TX, as well as her brother, Leo Kendrick, also of Texas.
Nelda and Robert Kelly met while Robert was in the Navy and stationed in Okinawa, Japan and were wed when they returned stateside in 1968.
They recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary together this December.
Born 1941 in Yonkers, Robert Kelly was raised in the Bronx and in South Salem graduating John Jay High School in Cross River in 1960. After high school, her attended the Academy of Aeronautics in Queens where he received his degree in Aeronautical Engineering and Aircraft Design. Upon graduation in 1963, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and received his wings as a naval officer and pilot of both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
After leaving the Navy, her went on to receive his BA and MBA from Mercy College in NY. A Vietnam veteran, Kelly served his country from 1963 through 1969, while stationed in Okinawa and at various bases in Vietnam while attached to the 7th Fleet, and on aircraft carriers assigned to the Navy’s 6th fleet in the Mediterranean.
He concluded his naval service while stationed in Lakehurst, NJ. Immediately after the Navy, Robert and Nelda Kelly moved to Bedford Hills and lastly to Somers where they raised their children.
Kelly was employed by Verizon and held various management positions through the years, before retiring in 2005. His wife was born on April 24, 1943 in Oklahoma and grew up in Midland, Texas where she developed her love for cowboy boots. She worked as a personal secretary at Mavis Tire and an office manager at Smith-Cairns but her favorite job was being a grandparent.
Once retired, Robert and Nelda Kelly made good on their plans to build a home and settle in Hampstead, NC, near where they had owned a beach home on North Topsail Island since the mid-1980s. Both were active members of the community, and took great pride in their service to the Kiwanis Club of Hampstead, NC. They made the most of their relaxed lifestyle and made many new friends while taking the time to travel, be with family and just enjoy life. They were loved by all that knew them and they will be missed by family and friends alike.
Services for the Kelly's will be held on Saturday, Jan. 11 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Yorktown Funeral Home, 945 E. Main St. in Shrub Oak and on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 1 p.m. at the South Salem Presbyterian Church, 111 Spring St., South Salem.
Interment will be at the South Salem Cemetery on Main Street, also in South Salem.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in their memory to the “Kiwanis Club of Hampstead”, 586 Sloop Point Long Rd., Hampstead, NC 28443.