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Donovan Kelly

Donovan Kelly, 71, worked for the U.S. Geological Survey for 31 years and was Chief of Public Affairs when he retired in 1997, died May 2 in Hamilton, Va. He was also a freelance humor writer, contributed articles to the Washington Post, élan Magazine, the Loudoun Times Mirror, and Morgan Messenger among other publications and was author of the book Crummy But Good Restaurants. During his career at the U.S.G.S., Mr. Kelly covered numerous geological events and hazards including earthquakes, volcanoes and the volcanic eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Mr. Kelly developed an effective writing and communication style that earned him awards throughout the federal writing arena. He was recognized in 1987 with a citation for Meritorious Service for his efforts. He was a prolific and polished writer, producing thousands of press releases for the Geological Survey during his career. It was during his retirement that Mr. Kelly re-discovered his ability and love for humor writing. He wrote monthly lifestyle and humor columns for the Morgan Messenger in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., wining several awards for his essays. He also wrote a monthly column for élan Magazine and was a contributor to the Washington Post and numerous local newspapers. He had the most fun writing a book on Crummy but Good Restaurants that included reviews of restaurants that you would hesitate to take your mother in, but served delicious or interesting food. The arrival of grandchildren in his life was a great joy and became a focus of his everyday. Mr. Kelly's grandchildren were a constant source of material for his writing. Mr. Kelly's sense of humor and self-awareness is reflected in the inscription that will appear on his headstone, as his first grade teacher wrote in his report card, "Donnie can't tie his shoes, but he can tell really good stories". Donovan Blaise Kelly was born Dec. 12, 1941, in Erie, Pa., graduated from McDowell H.S., and earned his undergraduate degree in Geology from Penn State University in 1963 and his Master's degree in Technical writing from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY in 1966. He is survived by his wife, Rita Panameroff Kelly, his mother Esther Luther Kelly, his son Donovan Michael Kelly and his partner Laura Ann Ellison, a daughter, Kathleen Perri Kelly and her husband Stephen Anthony Scafidi, Jr. and three grandchildren, Alice Louise Ellison Kelly Miller, Isabella Daria Scafidi and Elijah Luther Scafidi, two brothers, Roger L. Kelly, Tom L. Kelly a sister Patricia J. Kelly, and numerous, nephews, nieces and cousins. He is preceded in death by his father Roger M. Kelly and his brother Jerry L. Kelly. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hamilton Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service or to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Purcellville, Va.


Published in the Erie Times-News on May 8, 2013
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