We are saddened to share the news of the passing of our oldest living alumnus, Larry Kelley '32. He was 104 1/2 years old and an annual guest at Reunion Weekend. In 2015, at age 100, he was our special guest and pulled the winning Scholarship Drive tickets.
In a Saint Ignatius Magazine article published in 2012, Kelley recalled follwing his brother Norman's footsteps in attending Saint Ignatius where he described himself as "an average student who always had a good time."
Kelley was grateful his parents chose Saint Ignatius, as he recalled a small school with an enrollment of about 300 students. Everybody knew everybody else - including the college students who shared the first floor chemistry lab. Until 1935, students from John Carroll University (formerly St. Ignatius College) shared classroom space with high school students on the West 30th campus. “The academics were tough. Every class had one guy with highest honors,” Kelley remembered. While he readily admitted that “one guy” was not him, he looks back with gratitude on the demanding teachers, most of them Jesuits.
After earning a degree in history from John Carroll University (JCU), Kelley worked in quality control for 3M. Just a year before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, he applied to the Army Air Corps Flying Cadets. “But I was too short. So I went to the YMCA and did all kinds of stretching exercises. Don’t tell me you can’t get taller because I did.”
Squeaking by at 5’4”, Kelley became the armament man for the 60th Interceptor Squadron in Washington, D.C. He was proud to say they could get four pilots in four planes, armed and up in formation 15 minutes after an alert.
While stationed in Ireland, Kelley met Frances Lux, director of the American Red Cross Club. “She came up to me and asked, ‘Is this the bus going to Belfast? So I always say I picked her up at a bus stop.” They married on VE-Day, May 8, 1945, at St. Mary’s By the Sea in Southport, England and honeymooned in Scotland.
After the war, Kelley attended Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and worked for NASA Lewis Research Center for 33 years as a lawyer and contract negotiator, eventually serving as assistant deputy of procurement.
Kelley and Frances raised seven children and were married for “65 years, 28 days, and one hour. I sure loved her.”
Lawrence Kelley '32
Lawrence P. "Larry" Kelley
Age 104 1/2. Beloved husband of the late Frances E. (nee Lux) for over 65 years. Loving dad of Rosemary (Gary) Kelley, L. Patrick, James D., Ann Marie (Martin) Tarr, Daniel P. (Kate), Donald M. and Laurel (Rob) Duffy. Grandfather of 13, great grandfather of 17 and great great grandfather of 1. Dear brother of the late Msgr. Norman P. Uncle and great uncle of many.
Before his passing on Saturday, Larry was the oldest living alumnus of St. Ignatius High School Class of 1932 and John Carroll University Class of 1936 and the oldest retired employee of NASA. He was also an attorney for 65 years. Larry was active in the Pioneers and the Boy Scouts as well as being a 68 year parishioner and Holy Name member of OLA. WW II U. S. Army Air Corps Major.
Funeral Mass will be held Friday, August 9th, 11:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Angels Church 3644 Rocky River Drive. Interment Ohio Western Reseve National Cemetery at a later date. Family will receive friends at the DAVID MARTENS & SON FUNERAL HOME 4175 ROCKY RIVER DRIVE (between Lorain & Puritas) THURSDAY FROM 4-8 P.M. Contributions to OLA would be appreciated. Online condolences at davidmartensfh.com