Local Obits

Obituary of Richard J. Kelly


July 8, 1947 — April 9, 2024
Groton
Richard John Kelly (Dick), recently of Groton, NY, passed away on April 9 of dementia.


He was born on July 8, 1947 in Appleton, WI to John and Claudia Jean Kelly, and was raised on his family’s dairy farm in Medina. He graduated from New London High School in 1965 where he was a college-recruited runner and sought-after weekend date. He then operated Kelldale Farm with his father and provided professional leadership as president of his local dairy breeder association and a voice at state committee meetings.

In 1979, his knowledge and skill in dairy farming led to a job offer from the National Holstein Association. He moved his family to Cooperstown, NY and became a highly regarded dairy consultant covering eastern New York and New England. Out of love for his profession and solidarity with the farmers he worked with, he was an early advocate for Dairy of Distinction recognition in New York. He also advised international exchanges of dairy breeders from Australia, China, Costa Rica, Japan, and the Netherlands. His expertise was always in demand as his home phone rang off the hook.

In Cooperstown, he and his wife Pat established themselves as active and respected members of the community. Dick coached Little League baseball, contributed strikes and fun to his rec bowling teammates, and chaired the annual Winter Carnival as well as the Town of Hartwick planning board. He volunteered at the Cooperstown Food Bank with the ‘mules’ as he called his fellow volunteers, and for his neighbors, he was a watchful caretaker. He was a voracious reader, especially of history and literature, and an avid book collector who combed used book stores everywhere he traveled. He concluded that corporate greed is a plague. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of anything he became interested in. This included not only Otsego Lake, which he patrolled with devotion for the Clark Foundation, but even more impressively the county and state roads of the Northeast and many shortcuts between. His love of a good story, hearty laugh, and twinkling blue eyes gave him the air of a leprechaun. He loved to nickname the people he loved. He spent countless hours manicuring his property including a backyard where he hosted friends and family and wore out his shoulder pitching batting practice to his children, grandchildren, and neighborhood kids. He remains his family record holder in the mile run.

He is survived by his wife of fifty-four years, Pat, his children, Sara, Matt, and Peter, his daughters-in-law, Jen and Joslyn, and his grandchildren, Riley, Cass, Quinn, Teagan, Ean, and Clara. He is also survived by his sister, Nina Trigg, and his brother, John Kelly.

At Dick’s request there will not be a service. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to a local food bank.

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