RINGWOOD, N.J. — Thomas Kelly, OFM, 76, died Aug. 6 at Holy Name Friary. He was a professed friar for 56 years and a priest for 50.
A wake was held on Aug. 12 at St. Anthony Church in Butler, N.J., and a Mass of Christian Burial were celebrated there on Aug. 13. Provincial CouncilorJoseph Nangle, OFM, was principal celebrant, and Daniel Lanahan, OFM, a classmate of Thomas, preached the homily. Interment followed at Mount Calvary Cemetery, Butler, N.J.
Thomas was born Dec. 12, 1935, in Philadelphia, to Thomas and Pauline Kelly. He attended St. Matthew’s Elementary School and Northeast Catholic High School, both in Philadelphia, before enrolling in St. Joseph Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., where he studied from 1953 to 1955.
On July 14, 1955, he was received into the Order of Friars Minor at St. Raphael Friary in Lafayette, N.J., and professed first vows there in 1956. Thomas completed his philosophical studies at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, N.H., receiving his bachelor’s degree from St. Bonaventure University in 1958. He went on to study theology at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C., and professed his solemn vows in 1959.
Thomas was ordained to the priesthood in 1962 at Mount St. Sepulchre in Washington, D.C.
Thomas’s first assignment was in a pastoral theology program at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston from 1962 to 1963, before he spent a year as an instructor at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. From 1964 to 1970, he served as parochial vicar at St. Anne Parish in Fair Lawn, N.J.
He earned a master’s degree in theology in 1971 from Manhattan College in New York City, and a master’s degree in education from Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., in 1974.
He then returned to parochial ministry at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in West Milford, N.J., where he served as parochial vicar from 1971 to 1973 and 1976 to 1977, and as pastor from 1973 to 1976. He was assigned to St. Leo Parish in Elmwood Park, N.J., as parochial vicar from 1977 to 1982, before he returned to St. Anne Parish as parochial vicar from 1982 to 1993.
Thomas then served four years as parochial vicar at Assumption of Our Blessed Lady Parish in Wood-Ridge, N.J. He retired on Aug. 1, 2010, to St. Anthony Friary before moving to Holy Name Friary in November 2011.
Thomas is survived by brothers Ted of Greer, S.C., and Gene of Nashua, N.H., and sisters Mrs. Pauline Kelton and Mrs. Dorry Lutz of Marlton, N.J., Mrs. Carolyn Reardon of Greer, S.C., and Mrs. Eileen Battagliese of Sewell, N.J. Condolences may be sent to Ted Kelly at 11 Hobcaw Drive, Greer, S.C. 29650.
Memorial contributions may be sent to: The Franciscans of Holy Name Province, Office of Development, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, N.Y. 10001-3202.
— Compiled by Theresa Bartha