John D “Jack” Kelley, 86

May 15, 2019

John D “Jack” Kelley, 86 of Rochester died peacefully at home with his loving family and caregiver at his side on May 8. He was the husband of Marilyn Geiter Kelley, his Horace Greeley High School sweetheart. John and Marilyn just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Born in Port Chester, New York and raised in Bedford Hills, New York. John was the son of the late George F. and Ethel (Dillon) Kelley, and brother Robert Kelley. He leaves sisters, Pat Vallero and Sharon Kelley. 

John lived an exciting and adventurous life. He loved nature, animals, sailing and fishing, but mostly flying his Cessna 185, which he flew to Brazil and back. He spent most of his business career in Television advertising sales and program syndication in New York City. He was Vice President and General Sales Manager of Viacom after being International Sales Manager of Worldvision while residing in Greenwich, Connecticut. During that time he met monthly at God’s House in NYC with representatives of all religions to help improve relations.

He loved the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and photographed it every year. In the 1980’s he served on the committee to organize the parade, enabling his family to watch the parade in the viewing stand. He put pontoons on his Cessna and founded Greenwich Air Ltd, a commuter flight from Long Island, New York and Greenwich, Connicticut to Manhattan’s financial district pier. He was also a long-time member of the Belle Haven Club in Greenwich and Chairman of the Waterfront Committee. After moving to Portsmouth, New Hampshire he founded Kelley Seacoast Realty, Inc. and became a member of the Portsmouth Rotary Club, receiving their highest honor, the Paul Harris Fellow Award. He was also elected Portsmouth Police Commissioner where he served for eight years.

He volunteered at Portsmouth’s Alternative School and helped the students build an Ultralight which they sold at the Air Show at Pease International Airport. He and his friend, Bill Mortimer, former Chief of Detectives, raised enough money to help send the 100 piece Portsmouth High School band to Disneyworld. He also took communion to patients at Portsmouth Regional Hospital. He and other Portsmouth residents formed “The Chainsaw Gang” to clear out a section of Peirce Island for better police patrolling. 

John adored his wife and family and was a constant source of support, humor and fun. He was a generous friend to all and never hesitated to rescue even perfect strangers in times of peril. Starting in his youth, his strength, bravery and compassion made an impact on many and garnered the nickname – Jack Armstrong, the All-American boy. 

Survivors include his devoted wife Marilyn, and four loving daughters; Lynne and husband Stan Bucklin of New London, NH and Boston, Evan and husband Nicholas Martin also of New London, New Hampshire, Diane Kelley and husband David Risch of Marion, and Heather Kelley and husband Ted Buttner of East Randolph, Vermont and Williston, Florida. John also leaves seven grandchildren, John Ivey and his wife Jaime, Christopher Ivey and his wife Diama, Erin Martin, Peter Martin, Karina Tefft, Alexandra Tefft and fiancé Tim Cassidy, and Dillon Buttner. 

John also leaves three step-grandchildren; Dr. Laura Risch, David C. Risch, and Maxwell Risch and his wife Britteny. John’s new generation of survivors includes four great-grandchildren, Hunter Ivey, Madeleine Ivey, Mila Ivey and Jack Ivey and step-great grandson, Brady Risch. He also had grown close to his compassionate caregivers for the past few years: Barbara Mendonca of Care With Love in New Bedford and her helpers, Rose Raposo, Erica Perez, and Diana Andre, as well as the great Brewster Ambulance drivers, who took him to and from dialysis, and also the wonderful Visiting Nurses. 

Visiting hours will be at the Saunders-Dwyer Home of Funerals at 50 County Rd., Mattapoisett on Friday, May 24 from 3 to 7 p.m. John’s funeral will be held on Saturday, May 25 at 12:30 p.m. at Saunders-Dwyer Home of Funerals, followed by his Funeral Mass at St. Rita’s Church, 115 Front St. Marion at 1:30 p.m.  Burial service will be held at the Evergreen Cemetery in Marion. Reception at the Beverly Yacht Club to follow at 3 p.m.