June 11, 1925 - Nov. 30, 2012
Longtime Holtville resident Jack Kelly passed away peacefully with family members by his side on Friday, November 30th at the age of 87.
Born in Spokane, Wash. on June 11, 1925, Jack was the third of seven children born to Albert and Emalita Kelly. He attended St. Anne's grade school and Gonzaga High School. Jack had his first business at age 15, having his own push cart selling ice cream in the Industrial section of Spokane. He joined the Marine Corps on August 21, 1943. After boot camp he spent several months at the base in Seeley, then served in World War II in the South Pacific on the Island of Peleleu. He was honorably discharged on March 2, 1946.
Jack and his wife, Dorothy were married May 1, 1946, in the original St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Holtville. Shortly after that they boarded a bus for Spokane. While there Jack worked for a dry cleaning establishment. Six months later they moved to Holtville, where Jack drove a truck for an oil company, delivering stove oil. A few years later he attended school in Maryland to become a full-fledged dry cleaner. On April 1, 1948, Jack opened his dry cleaning business located at 5th and Orange in Holtville. After 2 years he moved his business to Holt Avenue opposite the park.
Several years later Jack decided to return to college, and graduated from IVC and San Diego State. He graduated in 1962 and began teaching fourth grade at Finley School in 1963. Two years later he got his dream job teaching music at Holtville Junior High School. He sold Kelly's Cleaners in 1965.
Jack had a reputation for demanding excellence, and he got it. His bands participated in many parades and won numerous awards; and he coached many operettas where students learned music and stage presence. Jack spent countless hours before and after school working with band members to improve their skills. The musicals and plays and the many excellent and superior ratings the bands earned at festivals throughout Southern California are standouts for many in the community. For scores of his former students music is still a major part of their lives. He retired in 1988, but continued substitute teaching.
As a member of the community, Jack was involved in the Rotary Club, directed the choir at St. Joseph's Church, played at weddings and entertained residents at the Valley Retirement Inn. Jack's participation was not limited to schools. He performed with the Music Mixers, the Swiss Club Band and the Imperial Valley College Community Band. He was a marching band judge for the Holtville Carrot Parade. Jack's devotion to the community of Holtville is appreciated by all whose lives he touched. He was a former Holtville Citizen of the Year and was inducted into the Holtville High School Hall of Fame. He also received the "24 Carat" award from the Holtville Chamber of Commerce for service to the community.
Jack will be greatly missed by many. We will always have our memories of him and he will forever be in our lives and hearts. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Al and Richard Kelly, and sister Patricia Eggers. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; children, Kieran Kelly (Denise) of Brawley, Kathleen Wellcome (John) of Brawley, Mary Lynn Massoud (Robert) of Salinas, CA, and Patrick Kelly (Eva) of Modesto, CA; also included are 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Rosary service will be held Thursday, December 13 at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph's Church in Holtville.
A memorial mass will be held Friday, December 14 at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Holtville.
The family gives their heartfelt thanks to the caregivers who loved and cared for Jack.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a charitable organization of your choice.