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Joseph P. Kelly III

August 4, 1922 February 8, 2021
Joseph P. Kelly III
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Obituary for Joseph P. Kelly III

Joseph Perboyer Kelly, age 98, passed away peacefully into the Father's arms, from the gentle hands of the staff at Christian Buehler Home on Monday, February 8, 2021.
Joe was born on August 4, 1922 in St. Louis, MO, to Joseph P. Kelly, Jr. and Mildred Leach Kelly. Oldest of three children, he attended St. Roch Parish School, Christian Brothers College High School and St. Louis University. In his later teenage summers, Joe picked cherries and did farm work in Wisconsin and Michigan, worked construction at the Panama Canal, and was on his way to a sealing job in the Pribilov Islands, but because of the Japanese invasion of the Aleutians, he was forced to return home.
After earning his degree in Commerce in 1943, he attended midshipman school at the University of Notre Dame, where he fell in love with Mary Vogel who was attending St. Mary's College. A freshly minted Ensign, he was sent out to Pearl Harbor in January, 1944, where he was trained in amphibious landings. That June, he was in charge of a number of landing craft during the invasion of Saipan, making several round trips into the beach. While aboard his ship, he saved a man from drowning and was subsequently given the job of extricating General Ralph Smith from the island after Smith had been relieved of command by Gen. Holland M. "Howlin' Mad" Smith.
After Saipan, Joe was placed on the staff of Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific, first at Pearl Harbor, and later on Guam. He remained on staff until war's end. Post-war, Joe served in Tianjin, China, helping to clear the harbor of silt and sunken ships.
He married Mary on April 7, 1947, and, soon after, moved to Peoria. Nine children were born of their union, and all survive. J. Patrick (Bea) of Glencoe, John (Amy) of Peoria, James (Caroline) of Cedar Rapids, IA, Elizabeth (Jack) Brimeyer of Germantown Hills, Ann (Stephen) Grill of Burr Ridge, Paul of Cleveland, OH, Jane (James) Shadid of Peoria, Margaret of Peoria, and Matthew (Cecilia) of Winter Park, FL. Also surviving are 34 grandchildren and 39 great-grandchildren. Two spouses of his children, Richard Longbucco and Nancy Evans Kelly, predeceased Joe.
His beloved Mary passed away on January 11, 1993. Joe later married Mildred “Mickey” Smith on April 23, 1994. Mickey brought four children to the marriage, Linda (Al) Hanson of Orlando, FL., Nancy Whalen of Peoria, Scott (Sherry) Smith of Las Vegas, NV, and Stacy (Richard)
Amberg of Peoria. The family was enriched with nine step-grandchildren and six step-great-grandchildren. Mickey passed away on March 25, 2018.
Joe joined the investment firm of Paul H. Davis in 1952 and after many mergers and buyouts, retired from Morgan Stanley in 2009 at age 86. During his career, he was usually found among his company's top producers. In the late '60s and early '70s he was placed in charge of his firm's nationwide mutual fund sales. He appeared on PBS's "Wall Street Week" in 1977.
Joe became active in the civic life of his adopted hometown. He was the successful President of Peorians for Council Manager Government in the 1950s and, while serving on the Peoria County Board, he handled the County Jail remodeling and spearheaded the decision to build the new Peoria County Courthouse in 1964. He also led the successful effort to pass a referendum to build seven new firehouses in the city.
A happy man, Joe was involved in many local organizations, from the Jaycees and Cosmopolitan Club, to Peoria Country Club and the Creve Coeur Club. He was a strong and devout Catholic, attending the Peoria Cursillo and his home parish of St. Thomas. He loved golf and tennis, Notre Dame football, the Boy Scouts, and Colorado skiing. He was always reading, devouring books and reciting poetry. He made great friends and loved having his family around him. To his children and grandchildren, he was a great hero. And now, he is happier than he's ever been, in the loving arms of his creator, praying for the rest of us.
Joe’s Funeral will be held at 12 noon on Friday, February 12, 2021 at St. Thomas Catholic Church, 904 E Lake St, Peoria Heights, IL. Msgr. Jason Gray and Msgr. Gerald Ward will officiate. Visitation will begin at 10:30 AM also at the Church. Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery in Peoria, IL. Old friends at Wright and Salmon Mortuary will be assisting.
The family would like to thank the staff at Buehler's care center for their cheerful and loving care of Joe.
Memorials may be made to the Msgr. William A. Watson Scholarship Fund through St. Thomas Church, the W.D. Boyce Boy Scout Council or the charity of your choice.
Friends may sign the online guestbook or send condolences to www.wrightandsalmon.com

Previous Events

Visitation

Friday

12

Feb

10:30 AM 2/12/2021 10:30:00 AM - 12:00 PM 2/12/2021 12:00:00 PM
St. Thomas Catholic Church

904 E Lake Ave
Peoria Heights, IL 61616

St. Thomas Catholic Church
904 E Lake Ave Peoria Heights 61616 IL
United States

Funeral Mass

Friday

12

Feb

12:00 PM 2/12/2021 12:00:00 PM
St. Thomas Catholic Church

904 E Lake Ave
Peoria Heights, IL 61616

St. Thomas Catholic Church
904 E Lake Ave Peoria Heights 61616 IL
United States
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