John “Jack” Kelly, III, of Dracut, MA, succumbed to a long illness on January 22, 2022, surrounded by his devoted wife and loving daughters. Jack was born on May 19, 1941, to Edna (Hoffmayer) Kelly and John Kelly, Jr., in Chester, PA. Raised in Ogden, PA, Jack attended Holy Saviour School and the prestigious Archmere Academy in Claymont, DE, where he excelled in both football and basketball. In 1959, he graduated second in his class from Archmere and began his studies at St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI. There, he majored in mathematics and met his future wife, Sherry.
After graduation, Jack returned to Archmere as a math teacher. He and Sherry married in 1966 and had their first child a year later. In his third year at Archmere, he won a fellowship to study math at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. While at Wesleyan, Jack and Sherry welcomed twin girls.
Upon completion of his master’s degree in 1969, Jack accepted a position at Winchester High School. During his tenure at Winchester, Jack earned the respect of his colleagues and his students, receiving praise and recognition as both a teacher and a coach of the school’s math team, which earned several state championship titles and a trip abroad to compete against the best teams in the world.
Jack was a practical man with a great sense of humor, who didn’t try to be anyone other than who he was. As a young teacher in the 1970s, he turned heads at the high school when he made his own designer clothes by fastening Chiquita Banana stickers and Raisin Bran box tops to the pockets of his pants and shirts. It was around this time that he bought a Norton Commando motorcycle, which he rode to and from school every day to save money on gas.
At home, Jack taught his children the importance of hard work, with an emphasis on academics and athletics. His family recalls with humor when his daughter broke an upstairs window while hitting softballs off of a tee in the backyard, and he was concerned only with her batting form.
Jack taught in Winchester for 32 years, concluding his illustrious career in 2001 with more than 300 accrued sick days that went unused. In retirement, Jack enjoyed following his grandchildren’s successes in their many sports. He often attended games and meets and sometimes listened to his children and grandchildren share highlights when he wasn’t able to attend. Jack also enjoyed sharing his knowledge of math with his grandchildren, troubleshooting advanced calculations as they confided their greatest challenges with him.
Jack loved music, and he and Sherry spent much of their retirement seeing their favorite musicians in concert: Bruce Springsteen, Keb’ Mo’, Bareneked Ladies, Great Big Sea, David Gray, Bryan Adams, Chuck Mangione, and Lyle Lovett, to name a few.
Jack’s greatest legacy is his family. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sherry (Francar) Kelly, their children Mary (Kelly) Brown and her husband Dr. Jim Brown of Nahant, MA; Erin (Kelly) DiGrande and her husband Chuck DiGrande of Nahant, MA; and Colleen (Kelly) Tully and her husband Sean Tully of Lowell, MA; grandchildren Matthew Brown, Lucy Brown, Maggie DiGrande, Grace DiGrande, Sophie DiGrande, Caitlin Tully, Sean Tully, and Seamus Tully; brothers Monsignor Jack Connahan of Darby, PA; Ed Kelly and his wife Debbie (Rawlins) Kelly of Wilmington, DE; and Tom Kelly and his wife Judy (Rawlins) Kelly of Ogden, PA. He is predeceased by his son Matthew Kelly.
Jack’s family is planning a small, private ceremony in his honor. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the ASPCA or the Humane Society of the United States.
The Carrier Family Funeral Home, 38 Range Rd, Windham, NH, has care of Jack’s. To send a message of condolence to the family, please view the obituary at www.carrierfuneralhome.com
Published by Lowell Sun on Jan. 25, 2022.