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John J. Kelley

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Mystic - John J. Kelley, 80, of Mystic, passed away at his daughter's home on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011.

He was born on Dec. 24, 1930, in Norwich, to the late John J. Kelley Sr. and Genevieve (Bellefleur) Kelley.

He was married to Jacintiha C. (Braga) Kelley for 50 years; she predeceased him.

John is a former graduate of the Bulkeley School, received his bachelor's degree from Boston University, and continued on to receive his master's degree at The University of Connecticut.

While in high school, he was the top school boy miler in the nation. John was a two time Olympian. In 1959, he won the Pan American Games marathon. He was the U.S. National Champion eight straight years from 1956 to 1963. In 1957, he won the Boston Marathon and placed second five times. He ran the Boston Marthon 32 times in total. He was inducted into the National Long Distance Runners Hall of Fame in 2002, in Utica, N.Y.

He is survived by his three daughters, Julia Washington and husband, Bing, of Mystic , Kathleen Gabriel and Ben Thomas of Pawcatuck, and Eileen Edwards and husband, Scott, of North Stonington; eight grandchildren; and a great-grandson. John is survived by his brother, Robert Kelley of East Lyme; sister, Ellen Knowles of Quaker Hill; and several nieces and nephews.

In addition to his wife, John was predeceased by his best friend and neighbor of 50 years, Daniel Strunk.

A service will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011, at Union Baptist Church in Mystic. Burial will be private. At the family's request, there are no calling hours.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice Southeastern Connecticut, 227 Dunham St., Norwich CT 06360.

The Dinoto Funeral Home, 17 Pearl St., Mystic, is assisting the family.

Published in The Day on Aug. 24, 2011
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