Ratus Lee Kelly, Jr. passed away on January 19, 2020 at the age of 86. Born in Trenton, New Jersey on February 23, 1933, he was the son of Bertha Staudinger Kelly and Ratus Lee Kelly, Sr. He grew up in Westfield, New Jersey and graduated from Westfield High School. Ratus went to Harvard University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Chinese History and then on to Harvard Law School. After graduating from law school, he worked for the Defense Department where he helped draft an international treaty concerning the status of US troops in the Philippines. Ratus later worked in the legal department of NASA in Cape Canaveral, Florida practicing contract law. In 1964, he married Anne and soon thereafter the couple settled in the Washington, DC area, where they remained for 22 years. There, Ratus worked at the Washington, DC branch of Harbridge House, a management consulting firm. Later he and others formed a management consulting firm, Tefft, Kelly, and Motley, Inc. as well as a law firm, Tefft and Kelly. Ratus also traveled extensively across the country teaching contract law to government personnel. Known for his reserved demeanor, Ratus was a keenly intelligent man as well as an engaging and attentive conversationalist. He was an avid reader who had an abiding passion for American history. His depth of knowledge regarding significant events and public figures in US history impressed everyone who knew him. He was a longtime admirer of Theodore Roosevelt and was a major contributor to the Theodore Roosevelt Collection at the Houghton Library of Harvard University. After retirement, Ratus and Anne moved to Santa Barbara, CA where his lifelong interest in architecture led him to a position on the Architectural Review Committee of Montecito. He also served on the Salvation Army Advisory Committee. Later, Ratus and Anne moved to Palm Beach, Florida. The couple spent summers in Edgartown, Massachusetts for most of their married life. Ratus enjoyed fishing and playing tennis with friends. A long time Episcopalian, he was most recently a member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in West Palm Beach, Florida. Ratus is survived by his devoted wife of 55 years, Anne Grace Kelly, his daughter from a previous marriage to Shirley Carradine, Alison Kelly (Andrew Cleveland), daughters Ruth Kelly (Clem Brooks), Nan McDonald (Bryan McDonald), Vanessa Kelly (Andres Zuniga), and stepson Tony Hartman (Sarah Hartman). He is also survived by his step grandchildren Bec, Hannah, and Henry Hartman, and grandchildren Amanda Weiss, Lena Brooks-Kelly, Taylor, Owen and Eleanor McDonald, and Danny and Ariana Zuniga. The family will receive guests from 4PM to 6PM on Friday, January 24, 2020 at the Quattlebaum Funeral Home at 5411 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach, FL 33417. A funeral service will be held at 11AM on Saturday, January 25, 2020, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in West Palm Beach, FL. A reception will follow at the Bath and Tennis Club in Palm Beach. All are welcome. The family is also planning to hold a memorial service at Federated Church in Edgartown, MA this summer.
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Published in Palm Beach Daily News on Jan. 23, 2020.