Jerome E. “Jerry” Kelly
October 5, 1943 – September 19, 2015
Jerome Edmonde Kelly, Sr., 71, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and one of our Nation’s wounded warriors, died September 19, 2015, in Alexandria, Virginia after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Jerome (“Jerry”) was a longtime Alexandria resident who was born in Graceville, Minnesota. Graceville was the nearest hospital to his mother’s family farm in Dumont. He was named after his father’s best friend and colleague from the Manhattan Project, Jerome Ackerman.
A 1965 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, he went on to complete qualifications in both Airborne and Ranger schools, as well as the Armored Officers Advance Course. He served in Germany and then was deployed to Vietnam as part of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (“Blackhorse Regiment”). He suffered a severe head injury during combat in June of 1968, while directing the defensive efforts of his troops’ command post against a mortar attack. Jerry was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor with Oak Leaf Cluster and a Purple Heart for his actions, which were credited in saving the lives of many of his men.
After a long recovery during which he was nursed back to health by his loving wife Lee, he attended Washington & Lee University School of Law and was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar. Jerry completed his active duty career in the United States Army as a member of the Judge Advocate General Corps, with tours of duty in Virginia and with U.S. forces in Seoul, South Korea. Additional decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.
After retiring from active duty in 1986, Lieutenant Colonel Kelly continued his service to the Nation as a civilian employee with the Department of the Army at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia until his retirement in 2006.
Jerry was a devout Catholic who loved his family, friends, and pets. He was an avid fisherman, bird watcher, and football fan. Always kind, polite and humble, his smile radiated the innocence and joy he found in life. He had a great sense of humor and was happiest while reading with one of his beloved pets nestled in his lap. Jerry’s perseverance in facing, without complaint, the increasingly debilitating effects of his war injuries and cancer was a source of inspiration to family and friends. He was a hero to his family first and his Nation second.
Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Lee Halloran Kelly of Alexandria; three children, Anne Louise Fruehauf (Richard) of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, Jerome (Jerry) Edmonde Kelly, Jr. (Andrea Courduvelis) of Alexandria, and Robert Halloran Kelly (Dana) of Alexandria; seven grandchildren, to include, Sarah and Sophie Fruehauf, Patrick and Christina Kelly, and Robert, Christopher, and Thomas Kelly.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on February 18, 2016 at 10:45 am at the Ft. Myer Old Post Chapel, Arlington, Virginia. Interment with full military honors will follow at Arlington National Cemetery where his parents, Army Colonel Edmonde and Genevieve Kelly, and Lee’s parents, Air Force Colonel Robert and Janice Halloran, are also buried. A reception for family and friends will follow at the Ft. Myer Officer’s Club from 12:30 pm to 3:00pm.
Thursday, February 18, 2016