Robert P. KelleyDecember 31, 1920 ~ January 10, 2018 (age 97)
Lt. Col. Robert “Bob” P. Kelley, 97, of Greenland, NH, formerly of Hudson, MA, passed away peacefully, on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, at Saint Anne’s Nursing Home in Dover, NH, after a period of declining health. He leaves behind his beloved wife of over 70 years, Elizabeth C. (Sedlacek) Kelley.
Bob was born in Boston, MA on December 31, 1920, a son of the late Daniel P. and Cecilia (Haley) Kelley. He was raised in West Roxbury one of nine children, he attended Boston Latin High School. Following high school, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet, beginning a long and decorated career of service to his Nation.
Upon completion of his Aviation training, Bob was assigned to the famous “Flying Skull Squadron”, stationed out of Hanscom Airforce Base. Bob and his squadron attached to the RAF flew their P-40 Warhawk fighters in over 80 combat missions in the African, Mediterranean and Italian Campaigns during WWII. Bob, along with his squadron were heavily decorated for their courage and heroics, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Distinguished Unit Badge and European, African-Middle-Eastern Campaign Medal with 7 Bronze Service Stars. After returning home from combat Bob enrolled at Catholic University in Washington D.C. earning his bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical engineering, He also married the love of his life Elizabeth C. Sedlacek.
Bob’s proud military service continued in the United States Air Force. He flew with a fighter escort group during the Korean War. He contributed to many National Defense projects including missile programs and the NASA programs while stations at Holloman AFB. Bob eventually retired after 20 years of active duty military service from Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico on July 19, 1966. In August of 1966, Bob moved to Hudson, MA with family. He worked for the Defense Department at Hanscom AFB until he retired in 1987. He was an avid golfer and he also enjoyed reading historical books.
In addition to his wife, he is also survived by 6 children, Elizabeth Stanley and her husband George of DefuniakSprings, FL, Patricia Kelley and her spouse Anne of Greenland, NH, Maureen “Murphy” Mann and her husband Steve of Hudson, MA, Catherine Kochanski and her husband Michael of Leominster, MA, Peter Kelley and his wife Anne of Maynard, MA and John Kelley and his wife Elizabeth Yarmouthport, MA; 13 Grandchildren and 8 Great-grandchildren. In addition to his parents he was also predeceased by his son, Michael Kelley; his daughter, Eileen Kelley and his 8 siblings.
Relatives and friends are invited to a period of calling hours from 9:00 am until 11:00 am on Wednesday, January 17, 2018, at TIGHE HAMILTON REGIONAL FUNERAL HOME, 50 Central St., Hudson, MA; immediately followed by a funeral service in the funeral home at 11:00 am. A funeral cortege will process to Forestvale Cemetery for final committal prayer and military honors.