Loved sports, animals

Published in the December 4, 2015 edition

Dorothy-Kelly-obit-webMELROSE — Dorothy Kelly was the only child of hard working immigrant parents, Robert and Josephine Kelly.

Dorothy was raised in Norwich, Conn., where she attended Norwich Free Academy and met her lifelong friend and future brother-in-law, “Billy” Brambilla. Dorothy worked at the local YMCA coordinating Hi-Y dances with Billy, which is where she eventually caught the eye of Billy’s older brother, a handsome young musician and band director named George Brambilla. George admired the “sparky” dance partner of his younger brother and eventually married her.

Dorothy and George settled in Melrose, where they lived for close to 60 years. Dorothy had a passion for her lovely gardens, and could be found caring for them year round, sometimes long after sunset. An avid tennis player and animal lover, Dorothy could often be found giving tennis lessons or playing doubles with George on the local courts. Dorothy volunteered at the Animal Rescue League, where she’d often find a “fur-ever” companion to call her own. Dorothy was the trusted travel agent for the priests at the local Catholic Church and the visiting musicians at the Boston Conservatory.

She loved to travel the world and meet new people while exploring new cultures. Dorothy never forgot a face and remembered every detail of the classmates she would reconnect with when she attended Norwich Free Academy reunions. A follower of local politics, Dorothy cared deeply for her community and never missed an opportunity to attend the opera or Boston Symphony. An enthusiastic sports fan, Dorothy enjoyed watching her “Sox,” “Pats,” Celtics and Bruins and, of course, her Melrose Red Raiders. After the passing of her beloved husband George, Dorothy spent most of her time gardening, taking classes, visiting with her friends and neighbors or at the Senior Center.

Dorothy passed on the same date as her beloved U.S. President, and fellow Bostonian, John F. Kennedy. Dorothy leaves behind her brother-in-law, William F. Brambilla of Michigan. She is also survived by her niece Lisa Brambilla-Doble of California; nephew Paul W. Brambilla of Florida, and cousin Pauline Zimmer of Connecticut. The family extends their most heartfelt gratitude to all of Dorothy’s friends and neighbors, who were there for her in her time of need.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Sweetpea Animal Rescue located at 1090 Pleasant St. in Paxton, Mass. Sweetpea is a no-kill animal rescue that recently suffered a devastating fire and needs help. To make a donation, visit or call 508-757-7959. Sweetpea is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization [EIN 04-3550699] – all donations are fully tax deductible.

Visitation will be held at the Gately Funeral Home, 79 West Foster St., Melrose on Wednesday, Dec. 9 from 8:30-9:30 a.m., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at Incarnation Church, 425 Upham St., Melrose at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends respectfully invited to attend. Burial will take place in Wyoming Cemetery, Melrose.