Valley Lives - Pat Kelly

The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the December 01, 2004 issue. Reprinted with permission.

Chelsea lonelier for loss

by Evelyn Carleton

On November 12, 2004, Chelsea seemed like a much lonelier place. Pat Kelly had died. He will be missed by many. An Irishman born on St. Patty's Day, with red hair and freckles. Irish to the bone. I first met Pat through St. Stephen's parish in Chelsea where he was as much a part of the church as are the pews or the stained glass windows.

Valley Lives
Pat Kelly.

It would not be unusual on an early Sunday morning to see Pat Kelly out shoveling off the front steps of the church. He was a warden, caretaker and general all around handyman. He was a proud trucker and had a love for horses. If he had an opinion he shared it, if you were late for mass, he gave you a look. You always knew where you stood with Pat.

He and I had a special relationship; as I was privileged to occupy one of the last pews in the back of the church, the pew directly in front of Pat Kelly. It was here that our friendship began. It spanned a short 16 years but I'll cherish all the memories.

The first time he spoke to me was one Sunday morning during mass. I had sat down because I was feeling queasy. He was kneeling directly behind me and asked "Are you OK?" I replied, "Yes, just pregnant". His response was just a strong, understanding pat on the shoulder.

When I was still quite an unknown in the parish circle, my brother died. He was buried in a small town called Quinnville in East Templeton. When I was leaving the graveyard, I caught a glimpse of a familiar green jacket and sure enough it was my good friend Pat Kelly. I ran over to thank him for coming and he never said a word, just gave me a great big hug.

When I told my children, now 10 and 14, that Pat had died, they said that he had been like a second grandfather to them. From the time they were in their car seats, they were teased and hugged by Pat. He touched upon many lives.

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