Obituary of Richard E. Kelley
Lt. Col. Richard Edward Kelley (USAF Ret.), 90, of South Glastonbury, CT, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on August 17, 2023. He was born in Manchester, NH on December 31, 1932, the son of Earle and Edna (Downing) Kelley and grew up in Derry, NH. He attended Pinkerton Academy and received a history degree from the University of New Hampshire. Upon graduation, he entered the United States Air Force and began his career as a pilot. During his Air Force career, he was most proud of his rare MATS Service Patch for flying 10,000 accident-free hours and his second-place finish in the 1964 National MATS Air Drop Competition.
As a reservist in the Air Force, Richard began his 24-year career as a commercial pilot with Pan American World Airways. He loved the adventures of traveling to new and exciting countries and would take numerous pictures documenting his travels. He loved the challenge of shopping for unique gifts from around the world to give to his loved ones.
In his spare time, Richard designed and built houses. His first house was built while stationed in Tacoma, WA as a traditional cape design showing his love of New England on the west coast. Over three years, he built the family home in South Glastonbury and lived there for over fifty years. He also built two other houses in Glastonbury. He was a member of Glastonbury Community Church and served on numerous committees and boards.
Richard loved his ice cream and enjoyed dry humor, gardening, reading, challenging jigsaw puzzles, taking care of his chickens and getting together with family. As his family expanded, so too did his pride, as he watched the relationships and love grow among generations.
He married his life-long love, Phyllis (Hayes) Kelley on August 15, 1959, in Berlin, NH and they recently celebrated their 64th anniversary. His other true love was his family that they created. Along with his wife, he leaves his children, Cynthia (Jeffrey) White of Derry, NH, Katherine (Robert) Mucha of Marlborough, CT, Susan (Joel) Estelle of Windsor, CT, Peter (Lisa) Kelley of Indianapolis, IN and Janet (Gregory) Lawrence of Ewing, NJ; thirteen grandchildren and five great-granddaughters. He also leaves his brothers Robert (Jean) Kelley of Londonderry, NH, William (Dorothy) Kelley of Amherst, NH and sister Lois Bond of Rochester, VT along with many nieces and nephews and a special honorary daughter, Shanda Davis of Atlanta, GA.
The family would like to thank the Newington VA Medical Center and the VA MICU and VA Hospice units in West Haven, CT for the exemplary and loving care they gave Richard.
In lieu of flowers, consider donating to the VA New England Healthcare Network, which provides healthcare and other services to military veterans at 200 Springs Road, Bedford, MA 01730, or easily found at https://www.pay.gov/public/form/start/52253675. If you prefer to donate in person, please contact the VA Center for Development and Civic Engagement office, sometimes referred to as Voluntary Service, at the nearest VA Medical Center.
Friends may call at the Mulryan Funeral Home, 725 Hebron Ave., Glastonbury on Thursday, September 7 from 5:00 pm to 8pm. Services will be held at Glastonbury Community Church, 113 Stancliff Rd., Glastonbury on September 8 at 11am. Burial will be at Forest Hill Cemetery, Derry, NH on September 9. For online condolences please visit www.mulryanfh.com