Thomas Edward Joseph Kelly, age 85, of Saint Georges passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on April 23, 2019. He was born in Clifton Heights, NY and graduated from the Christian Brothers Academy. He subsequently enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he had a distinguished career. Thomas retired from the Marine Corps as a Major in 1979 after 28 years of service. During his time in the Marines, he served as a drill instructor in Quantico, VA and San Diego, CA and was the Inspector Instructor of the Marine Corps Reserves in Delaware. Major Kelly served as the President of the Delaware Chapter of the Military Officers Assoc. of America and was an active leader for many years in the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots campaign. “The Major” also spent over 25 years working at the Kalmar Nyckel during its construction and subsequent operation, and was one of the first people to be married onboard the Kalmar Nyckel. Most recently, Major Kelly was key in helping establish the Delaware Military Museum.
The Major lived life with a purpose and is remembered for the thousands of moments of kindness, compassion, and generosity to people around him, both known and unknown.
Thomas is survived by his wife of 14 years, Karen Lea Kelly. Major Kelly was predeceased by his son, Donald Wayne Kelly in 2013. Surviving members of Thomas’ family are his daughter-in-law, Brenda Kelly (wife of Donald) and her three children, Matthew Kelly, Brendan Kelly, and Kevin Kelly; his son, Kenneth Kelly and his wife Wendy of Hockessin, DE, their three children, Megan Sternberg, Christopher Kelly, and Michelle Kelly; his son Ron Kelly and his wife Paula of Hebron, Kentucky, their six children, Christian Vogt, Jerome Pieschel, Matthew Pieschel, Bethany Brown, Jessica Kelly, and Thomas Kelly; his daughter, Kathryn Kelly-Leary and her wife Anna of Tucker, GA, and their two children, Taylor and Micah; In addition, Major Kelly also had 14 great grandchildren.
He loved his wife Karen and his family deeply and without condition. He loved, admired, and respected the incredible friendships that were built during his journey. To all of his military brothers and sisters, both current and former… Semper Fi.
A visitation will be held on Wednesday May 1, 2019 from 10:30 to 11:30 A.M. with a Mass of Christian Burial beginning at 11:30 A.M. at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Delaware City. Burial will be held privately in Quantico National Cemetery in Virginia. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots Foundation, Gift Processing Administrator, 18251 Quantico Gateway Drive, Triangle, VA 22172. Online condolences may be made to mealeyfuneralhomes.com