John Patrick Kelly
5/1/41 - 2/3/21
John, Johnny, Kellogg, Papa, Brother John, Uncle Johnny as he is known to those of us lucky enough to have shared
his world with him, was a lifelong resident of the South Bay, growing up in Redondo Beach with his six older siblings, attending Mira Costa where he played both basketball and golf, and where on the last day of his senior year, met the love of his life, Gail. After time spent in the Army Reserves, at El Camino College where he was on the golf team, and at Long Beach State where he earned his bachelors degree, he and Gail settled in Hollywood Riviera and their family grew, with four kids [Tom (Britta), Wendy (Gary), Kristi (Phil), and Suzanne] and three grandkids (Nicole, Chase, and Luke) and many dogs and cats completing the scene. Thanks to his love for his kids and sports (he had a single digit handicap and cheered loudly whenever the Dodgers, Lakers, Rams, or Trojans were playing), all of his children and grandchildren can do a layup, decently swing a golf club, and replace their divots. He also loved to share his encyclopedic knowledge of music ("Hey Dad, when did 'Chantilly Lace' first come out?" "Well, let's see, that would be August, 1958, I do believe."). If you asked to borrow some cash, he would say "But Baby, I ain't got noooooo money Honey!" He loved Dr. Zhivago and dancing to 50s tunes, hated cursing and dishonesty, and never met a cookie or a station wagon he didn't like. Over the years, many friends of the kids were known to say that when they got married, they wanted their relationship to be "just like John and Gail's." Through 50 years of marriage, they were an inspiration to so many, showing how to love and support and respect and compromise through all of life's highs and lows.
We miss him more than words can say, but know he is playing round after round of golf on the perfect fairways only Heaven can offer, and enjoying being with everyone he has now had the chance to reconnect with, including three of his brothers, Joe, Jim, and Dick, his sister Pat, and so many others who we're sure were at the Pearly Gates cheering and welcoming him as he arrived. Along with Gail and the kids, he leaves behind two brothers, Bill (Judy) and Bob, and countless others, family, friends, teammates, and coworkers, but we all have some of our most amazing memories to thank John for and reliving them in our minds and conversations will keep him alive in our hearts.
True to form in making the world a better place, his final gift was of himself to the USC Keck School of Medicine. At the conclusion of his time there, he will be cremated and his ashes scattered in the ocean that he loved so much. Due to social distancing, we ask that you take a moment and think of John and raise a glass or a bottle or a can, or an ice cream cone (he loved those too), to the Pacific and remember the best times. There were many.
For everything we are so grateful for, the love, the fun, the most excellent example of how to be an exemplary human, Mahalo John-o!
"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss
Published in The Beach Reporter on Mar. 18, 2021.