Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My family remembrance

Whether George Kelly was helping to raise his siblings, working to educate his children or fighting for his country, it was in keeping with the tenets of his Christian faith.

"Dad never did anything half-way," said his daughter, Janice Kugler. "His commitments were always 110 percent. It was part of his Methodist upbringing of reaching out to others."

George William Kelly, of White Oak, a member of the board of trustees of Wesley United Methodist Church in McKeesport, died Friday, June 16, 2006, in UPMC McKeesport. He was 81.

"Dad was one of 10 children," Kugler added. "My grandfather, Calvin Kelly, died when my father was 16. Dad dropped out of school and up until he entered the Army, he was helping to raise his younger brothers and sisters.

"He even volunteered to stay behind so one of his brothers, who had the opportunity to attend college, could attend.

"And even after my grandmother, Lillie, died, Dad continued to be the one his brothers and sisters could call up for help and advice."

In 1942, Mr. Kelly enlisted in the Army and as a member of the 4th Armored Division, he saw action at the Battle of the Bulge.

"Dad often recalled how proud he was to have participated in a war against oppression and tyranny," said his daughter. "He was a patriot who loved this country."

Following his discharge in 1945, Mr. Kelly was employed by U.S. Steel as a production scheduling supervisor. He retired in the late 1970s.

Kugler recalled her father's commitment to his Methodist faith as another milestone in his life.

"As a boy, Dad, along with his family, attended the Free Methodist Church in McKeesport, which is a very strict Methodist denomination," said his daughter. "It was here that he began his desire to serve an important tenet of his Christian faith -- that of reaching out to others."

In 1948, George Kelly married Doris Rebecca Oyler, a resident of McKeesport, who was employed in the offices of Westinghouse Air Brake Corp. in Wilmerding.

"Both Mom and Dad were active members of the Wesley United Methodist Church in McKeesport," recalled Kugler.

Mr. Kelly served on the building committee when the congregations of the Ballantyne and Coursin Methodist churches merged to become Wesley United Methodist Church and a new building was erected in 1968.

Mr. Kelly was also an active on the board of trustees of Wesley United Methodist and Wesley United Methodist Men.

"Dad understood the importance sports had in the development of young men and he coached the McKeesport Knights softball team, besides the softball and baseball teams at our church," said Kulger.

Mr. Kelly is survived by his wife, Doris Rebecca Oyler Kelly; children, Joyce Heady, of South Pasadena, Fla., Clifton Kelly, of Beavercreek, Ohio, and Janice Kugler, of White Oak; five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

He is also survived by his sisters, Annabelle Haidle-Tomak, of Dayton, Ohio, and Jeanne Carlson, of Milton, Del.

Mr. Kelly was preceded in death by his sisters, June Whitehead, Dorothy Stumme-Pishko and Lillie May Walsh and brothers Clifton, Calvin, Charles and Glenn Kelly.