Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Sports

February 20, 2014

BC mourns passing of quiet giant

Kelley succumbs to ALS at 48

(Continued)

And BC was devoted to Kelley, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Jesuit school. Kelley, a devout Catholic, was blessed to have two incredibly loving and loyal families.

The first, of course, were the Kelleys: parents Ed and Ann of Andover, brother Ted and sister-in-law Carrie of Foxboro, and brother Patrick of Andover. They’ve made extraordinary sacrifices to make Dick’s life comfortable these last few years.

The second family was Boston College, especially his co-workers in the sports information department.

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Paul Yannalfo, Kelley’s best friend since grade school, said, “He was just an incredibly genuine person. He had a lot of integrity. He was always trying to help others. It’s a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten.”

What amazed even those who knew Kelley best was his outlook while his body was ravaged by ALS.

“You see someone’s nature when they are dragged through this,” said Yannalfo, a financial planner who lives in Andover. “Every single time I walked in that room, he had a smile for me. He kept his sense of humor. It was hard.”

In a moving, lengthy story by Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel last May, Kelley said, “I have my highs and lows. Doesn’t everyone? Though many, many more of the former.”

Some of the most powerful people who came through BC were most touched by the Irishman with the quick wit dripping with sarcasm.

It’s been my great fortune to know Dick and the Kelley family for over 30 years. Visiting his apartment last year, I couldn’t resist, when nobody was looking, to take a peek at the note that Coughlin wrote to Dick in the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach’s book.

Even the toughest coach in the sport was moved by Kelley’s bravery.

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