On June 14th, three short days of his 92nd birthday, Thomas Martin Kelly went to meet his loving wife of 53 years. Betty who passed in 2006, his mother, Ann (O’Brien), father, Henry and younger brother Pat will be thrilled to see him.
Tom loved his church and actively demonstrated it for 32 years as a photographer and journalist for the Catholic Chronicle. During his tenure he was proud to work for civil and worker rights, covering MLK’s march on Washington, as well as Cesar Chavez’s fight for migrant workers.
Born in Devils Lake, North Dakota, Tom struggled with his family through the Great Depression on a farm in Cato Township. Eventually, in his high school years, he went to live with his uncle and aunt, Henry and Rosamond. He loved them and loved working at their newspaper, The Walsh County Press.
He joined the Army right out of High School in 1945 at the end of WWII. He became “KO Kelly” there, where he boxed and toured with the USO. After his discharge, Tom continued his boxing career and renewed his love for journalism at the University of Minnesota. After getting his degree, he worked at a few small town papers eventually landing at the Billing’s Gazette in Montana. He met Betty there at Arthur Murray’s Dance Studio, where they were both dance instructors.
Tom and Betty started their family with the birth of Ann in Bismarck, added Tim and Mike on their return to Walsh County and finally Kathleen (Rick Sordelet) in Detroit, where Tom worked for United Press International. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Cleveland (Universe Bulletin) and then Toledo (Catholic Chronicle), where they were finally rooted. Tom leaves behind these children, as well as his big brother, Henry (Liam) and wife, Donna. His grandchildren, Bryan (Ashley), Luke (Christine), Kaelan, Christian, Collin and Katie, as well as his great grandchild Gwen, were his greatest legacy. He will be missed by all.
The family will receive guests Thursday, June 20, 2019 from 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at Newcomer - SW Chapel, 4752 Heatherdowns Blvd. (419-381-1900). The Funeral Mass will be celebrated Friday, June 21, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 6135 Hill Ave.
Memorial contributions may be made to ProMedica Ebeid Hospice in Tom's memory.
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