Walter Dennis Kelly Sr., affectionately known as “Freddy,” was always a no-nonsense loner and very private man who stood his ground for the things he believed in. He is best remembered for those things and will be greatly missed by his family and friends. The U.S. veteran died on October 14. He was 75.
Kelly was born on August 15, 1936 in Carthage, N.C. to George and Eliza Kelly.
When Walter Kelly, the fourth of five children, was still a toddler, the Kelly family moved to Washington, D.C. Kelly would later receive most of his education through the public school system.
It was also during those formative years that the three sons of George Kelly were all being called “Kelly” — as if it was their first name and the versed name followed them throughout their lives.
When Kelly completed high school in 1955, he immediately enlisted in the United States Army and served three years of active duty, and then re-enlisted for another four years in the U.S. Army Reserves. By the time Kelly had completed his military service, his family had relocated once again, this time to Philadelphia and he joined them there.
Kelly came to Philadelphia with no real career plans, and worked on and off in his family’s restaurant. He was far from being grounded and the only thing he was certain of, was that he would never marry or have children.
Kelly, the confirmed bachelor, was always stylishly dressed and wearing one of his beloved, signature hats. His appearance was only second to his promotion of physical fitness and nutrition. He lived a carefree life until 1964, when he met Novella Silver. They married soon after, and Kelly would eventually become the father of seven children.
It was also in 1964 that Kelly accepted a position at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in electrical maintenance. In 1970, Kelly went back to school and received another certification in electrical engineering maintenance. Kelly enjoyed working at the Art Museum very much and started studying art and making drawings of his own, even painting on canvas. Kelly worked at the Art Museum for 33 years and rarely took a sick day.
When he retired, Kelly became an avid reader and self-proclaimed historian. He also loved collecting commemorative stamps, old movies and documentaries about famous war heroes, world leaders and natural wonders.
Kelly leaves to mourn: children, Walter Jr., Angenette, Jacqueline, Ruth, James, Charlene and Charles; 13 grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.
Kelly was preceded in death by his parents and four siblings, Marva, Lessie Mae, James and George.
Services were held October 24, at Slater Funeral Home.