Walter Francis Kelly

  |   Visit Guest Book

LOS ANGELES – Walter Francis Kelly, 73, died from lung cancer on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Los Angeles.

He was born in Pittsburgh but spent the majority of his childhood in Miami Beach, Florida.

A gifted student, he received a scholarship to attend the prestigious St. Leo's Academy boarding school in Florida. Upon graduation, he attended the University of Miami, Coral Gables, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater.

It was the University of Miami that he began his lifelong love of the theater and attained a Master of Fine Arts in theater from the University of Illinois, right after receiving his undergraduate degree. He moved to Los Angeles upon graduation and became active in the theater community.

He was awarded an ABC Network Scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Walter spent 10 years in New York City, consistently acting as well as teaching both theater and literature classes.

In 1974, Walter and his young family moved to Glen Lyon where he became part owner of Sedor Insurance Agency. He quickly found his way to the local theater scene, however, and directed and acted in numerous plays. Of note, he founded Misericordia University's Theater on the Green Shakespeare Festival in 1989. He invited British director, Giles Block, whom he met while studying at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1988, to collaborate with him on the festival's first production, "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

He also taught various theater and literature classes at Penn State University – Lehman Campus, Wilkes College and Chase prison.

In 1990, Walter moved to Los Angeles. He continued his involvement in the theater while also pursuing a Master of Arts in psychology from Antioch University, eventually working as a psychotherapist. He retired to Malibu, California.

He is survived by his current wife, Lydia Matyas; his three children, Genine Kelly (Stewart), Heather Kelly (Topping), Sean Kelly (Bauer); and six grandchildren. He is also survived by Marcella Sedor Kelly, his former wife and mother of his children.

Donations can be made in Walter's name to the Union Rescue Mission, 213-673-6314; or emailed to

Published in Times Leader from Aug. 9 to Aug. 11, 2014
bullet Penn State University bullet University of Illinois