Patrick Kelly 1933/2009 (Joe's 1944/1951)



Obituary by Gerard Slavin (Joe's 1944/1951)

Patrick Kelly was born in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada in 1933. His parents were immigrants from County Cork, Ireland. The family came to Blackpool in 1938 where they lived in St Cuthbert's Parish. He won a scholarship to St Joseph's College in 1944 and was educated there until 1951. Coming from St Cuthbert's Parish he was 'infected' by the charisma of (then) Father Pearson and the ethos of the Catholic Boys Association (CBA) together with that of the Irish Christian Brothers were formative during his teenage years. He was small but with Irish spirit, enjoyed the rough and tumble of the CBA and the more disciplined introduction to rugby by Brother Ring. His small stature meant that he did not progress with his peers and he was still playing for the Bantams when they had progressed to the Colts and some even beyond. What he lacked in stature he made up in enthusiasm and he was a small but fearsome hooker. He was supported most weeks by his father, Dan, who provided us with vigorous Irish vocal support.

In classes he was keen about Arts subjects particularly Latin, Literature and French but like many others in the class he did not take to the sciences and in particular the throw away, laidback style of 'Oscar' Slater teaching Physics left him cold. It was inevitable that he studied the arts syllabus in form 6 and through our friendship he kept my non-scientific reading up to speed with introductions to Waugh, Vile Bodies, Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath and Greene, The Power and the Glory. He also introduced me to playing tennis with Convent girls. I had grown taller than he, but his adolescence was perhaps six months ahead of mine – but that is another story. He differed in another way which perhaps concurs with some of the views expressed by Old Boys writing of the 1960's. Whilst most of our group accepted the rule of the strap by the Brothers as the norm and quite acceptable, he spoke out against its use. He got strapped, of course, for 'sins' real or apparent as we all did, but he thought it a poor form of teaching – perhaps a forerunner of his later career. Holidays in the summer meant summer jobs for teenagers in Blackpool such as collecting and delivering negatives and films to chemists selling to the holiday makers but the highlight of the summer was the CBA camp in Ambleside. There he came into his own. He liked the outdoor life in the river Rothay, on Windermere and on the mountains, again a portend of things to come.

In July 1951, we sat the very first A-levels and whilst most of us worried about results, Pat and his family prepared to return to Canada but he had a fitting send off for it was the Centenary of the death of the Catholic historian Lingard at Hornby Castle. The school choir sang the High Mass which Bishop Pearson celebrated. The families of the boys picnicked on the extensive lawns in lovely weather. My family and his, father Dan, his mother, Mary, and his sister Maureen ate together and then we parted with the Kelly family returning to Toronto. In Canada he initially worked supporting the family and then saving towards his University and tuition fees. He entered St Michael's College, University of Toronto, where he studied French and even played rugby again. He graduated BA in 1957. Thereafter, he taught French mainly at Richmond Hill High School. He loved teaching and organized exchange programs to Quebec. There, he and his students skied and billeted with French speaking families. In 1974 he completed a Master's degree at Université Laval in Quebec. He continued teaching until 1988 when he had completed thirty years.

He married Yvonne, a primary teacher in 1960. They lived in Richmond Hill in a house filled with children, books, music and, says his daughter Suzanne, "his lovely humming". It was a home that provided encouragement for higher education and sport. Like his father, Dan, he was to be found on the touchline cheering on his children's teams. His CBA experience of the outdoors in the Lake District stayed with him throughout his life. He loved camping, hiking and canoeing and spent his summers with his family enjoying the outdoors mostly in Algonquin Provincial Park. Pat died in 2009 after 48 years of marriage. They had six children, ten grandchildren and just before he died a great-grandchild, Mary, was born. That is a splendid legacy to leave.

A final shout to him as we leave: “CBA- Ad Altiora, Pat”


Back to the Obituaries Page.