on April 8, 2013 - 11:19 PM
, updated April 8, 2013 at 11:20 PM
May 23, 1931 – April 1, 2013
John J. “Jack” Kelly, of Eggertsville, a retired Buffalo police officer, died April 1 after a short struggle with cancer. He was 81.
Born in Buffalo, he was a 1949 graduate of South Park High School. He served for four years in the Navy as a radioman during the Korean War in the anti-submarine division in Key West, Fla., aboard the USS Oglethorpe.
Returning from service, he attended the University of Buffalo while working at Kelly’s Tavern, a South Buffalo bar owned by his family. He worked for 4½ years as a radio operator for the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and was a security officer and production foreman at the Ford plant in Woodlawn.
He joined the Buffalo Police Department in 1964. Stationed primarily at Precinct 17 in North Buffalo, he retired in 1993. He also was a Williamsville school bus driver for 30 years.
In retirement, he worked at the Hamburg NAPA auto parts store and at the Eggertsville Car Quest auto parts store. He also volunteered in the pharmacy department at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.
Mr. Kelly received the sheriff’s Meritorious Duty Award in 1960 and the Buffalo Police Department’s Medal of Valor in 1975 for taking a gun away from a man who shot another officer. In 1978, he and a fellow officer alerted tenants of apartment houses on Kenmore Avenue to overnight fires twice within the same week.
He was a member of the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Police Emerald Society, the American Legion and the Holy Name Society at St. Benedict Catholic Church. He marched with the Buffalo police every year in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
His wife of 53 years, Rosemarie Heidinger Kelly, died in 2010.
Survivors include two daughters, Sue Jantzi and Jane Cannan; a son, John P.; and three sisters, Jean O’Brien, Margaret Neenan and Kathleen Bannerman.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Friday in St. Benedict Church, 1317 Eggert Road at Main Street, Eggertsville.