Published in the September 19, 2016 edition.
WAKEFIELD — Robert L. Kelley of Wakefield died peacefully at home on Sept. 9 after a long illness. He was born in Everett on Aug. 3, 1938, the son of the late Frederic and Katherine (McCusker) Kelley.
Mr. Kelley was raised in Everett and was a graduate of Everett High School. In pursuit of his lifelong dream to become an airline pilot, he held several jobs at a time to support his family while studying and earning the requisite certifications and credentials for a career in commercial aviation. Initially hired as a Northeast Airlines pilot in 1968, he continued to fly for Delta Airlines upon their merger with Northeast in the early 1970s, retiring as a Captain in 1997.
Mr. Kelley was the beloved husband M. Claire (O’Brien) Kelley. He was the loving father of Claire, “Tammy” Kelley of Ipswich, Robert L. Kelley Jr. and his wife Robin of Manchester and Kyle J. Kelley and his wife Cheryl of Hopkinton. “Papa” Kelley was the proud and doting grandfather to Brenna, Devin and Liam Kelley of Manchester and of Nolan, Griffin and Owen Kelley of Hopkinton.
He is survived by his sister Katherine Furey of Natick, his brother Frederic Jr. of Mendon and his sister Maureen Durant and her husband Robert of Melrose. He was predeceased by brothers John, Paul and Henry Kelley.
Arrangements will be private & in the care of McDonald Funeral Home, Wakefield. A Celebration of Life reception will be held in his honor on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Bear Hill Golf Club in Stoneham. For guestbook, www.mcdonaldfs.com.