Good-Bye Terry Kelly - be at peace

Terry Kelly and his wife Mary stepped in to become surrogate parents to me in the early '80s. My parents moved (with my 2 brothers) to Indianapolis and I was old enough to wave 'so long', as I was really tired of moving.

There is no way to express the amount of guidance, love and attention he and his wife have given me over the years. I have a key to the house. Many times I've come into town and walked into their home, picked a bed or couch and crashed for the night - then to be awakened by Jamie (the youngest) or Mary for breakfast. Every year, since 1990, my husband and I have attended their annual New Year's Eve party.

Countless cups of coffee at their dining table. Midnight calls for help with one of the kids. Jamie, the youngest, was the same age as my younger brother and just as humorous. He died at 32 in 2005. Erin, the only girl, was a bridesmaid for me. Shaun, the oldest, was a wild child and we dated for a short time - very short. Tim, though mentally he is a child his heart is large. Kevin, my age, is a dear friend to both me and my husband.

They're family. We're spending today at the house, by their request. Tomorrow we'll be at their side for the viewing, then Tuesday for the funeral. Ricky will probably be a pallbearer.

Here is a link to Terry's obituary http://www.legacy.com/louisville/Obituaries.asp?Page=LifeStory&PersonID=118044390- which says nothing about the 5'3" Irishman's huge heart, silly sense of humor, constant appearance (after retirement) in the court system to keep in touch with inmates/guards/fellow probation officers, wiry frame that never got over 130 lbs., knack for turning down the hearing aid just as the women got to talking, ability to guide many people along the road of life. He could be found at the bowling alley every Friday night - but he didn't bowl. He liked to visit, cheer people on, encourage people to improve, help people get by. He had a temper that showed through very red ears and squinty eyes, a heart that was generous and giving.

Terry died of COPD and emphysema. We watched him deteriorate for over a year, until finally he became bedridden. On Friday evening/Saturday morning, sometime after midnight, he died in his sleep. Mary found him at 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

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