Edward Allen Kelley, Class of 1953, died peacefully at home in Ridgefield, CT on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at the age of 91. He was the loving husband of the late Margaret Talbott Kelley.
Kelley was born in Clinton, MA on June 28, 1927, the only child of Edward Francis Kelley and Lillian Marion (Keigwin) French, and the stepson of William French. He graduated from Clinton High School in 1945 and promptly joined the U.S. Navy to fight in World War II. Though the war ended before he saw combat, he continued to serve in the Naval Reserve until 1947 and then attended Trinity College in Hartford, CT on the GI Bill, graduating in 1950. He received a Masters of Sacred Theology from General in 1953.
Apart from early employment at the soda fountain of Clinton’s drugstore, Kelley spent his entire career in book publishing, working first for Colonial Press in Clinton from 1953 to 1957, then for the religious publisher Morehouse-Barlow Company in New York City, initially as the manager of its bookstore and then as Vice President/Editorial Director. From 1974 to 1983 he was Senior Vice President at Oxford University Press, followed by a period as a publishing consultant, where the books he shepherded included the collected writings of Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He ended his distinguished editorial run as President & Publisher of Morehouse Publishing Company in Wilton and Ridgefield, retiring in 1997.
Allen met his wife Margie while both were living and working in New York City, and they married in 1962. They moved to Ridgefield in 1968, where they raised their three children. Allen was a parishioner at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church for over 50 years, serving on its Vestry and as Senior Warden. He was very involved in the life of the church, teaching Sunday school, manning the “Garden Spot” at the church Nutmeg Festival every summer, and, after his wife’s death in 1995, establishing with his children the Margaret T. Kelley fund to support young people and their understanding of the world.
Kelley loved golf, jazz, reading, his ancestral home of Ireland, The New York Times, tennis, a good martini, his family, and blueberry pie, not necessarily in that order. He was a lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs; after their World Series title in 2016 he declared he could die a happy man. He enjoyed, with Margie and his children and grandchildren, many happy summers in the Cape Cod town of Brewster, MA. In an interview he gave to his grandson Aidan for a second-grade biography project, Allen said the things that were most important to him were “family, justice, and peace in the world.” And that what he would most like to be remembered for was “being a good friend.”
Allen is survived by his three children and their spouses: Catherine Kelley and her husband Erik Oley, Edward Kelley and his wife Allison, Michael Kelley and his wife Kim, as well as his seven grandchildren: Aidan, Ava, Connor, May, and Fiona Kelley, and Liam and James Oley.
A celebration of Allen’s life will be held on Saturday, March 16th at 2:00 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 351 Main Street in Ridgefield. A reception will follow at the Ridgefield Community Center (The Lounsbury House). Interment will be private.