Funeral services set for legendary Ed Kelly

Ed Kelly, the ori­gin­al founder of the Pennypack Park Mu­sic Fest­iv­al is honored by Al Tauben­ber­ger, Pres­id­ent of the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce, on Kelly’s 85th birth­day on Wed­nes­day, Ju­ly 13. Kev­in Cook/for the Times

Fu­ner­al ser­vices are planned for Fri­day for Rhawn­hurst’s Ed Kelly, founder of the wildly pop­u­lar Pennypack Park Mu­sic Fest­iv­al and former ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Kelly, who had suffered from vari­ous ail­ments over the last sev­er­al years, died Monday morn­ing at Holy Re­deem­er Hos­pice. He was 86.

The Kellys had two-plus qual­ity weeks with the fam­ily pat­ri­arch after he re­ceived last rites. In that time, he was able to get in a few horse bets and meet with mu­sic fest­iv­al or­gan­izers Norm Jad­czak and Donny Smith.

The fam­ily was hop­ing he would live at least un­til Oct. 21, when he was to be in­duc­ted in­to the North­east Phil­adelphia Hall of Fame.  

“He’ll be there in spir­it,” said his daugh­ter, Nancy.

On Sunday, the Kelly fam­ily held an un­of­fi­cial Hall of Fame ce­re­mony, read­ing him the trib­ute pre­pared for the up­com­ing ce­re­mony. It brightened his day.

“Look­ing over all the can­did­ates, he really did stand out. He spent his life mak­ing the com­munity a bet­ter place. He has a pretty re­mark­able leg­acy of con­tri­bu­tions to North­east Philly,” said Jack Mc­Carthy, the Hall of Fame’s pro­ject dir­ect­or.

Kelly served in World War II and owned a suc­cess­ful auto re­pair and tow­ing busi­ness in Burholme. He served as ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the loc­al Cham­ber of Com­merce from 1971-82.

Al Tauben­ber­ger, cur­rent pres­id­ent of the Cham­ber, re­calls work­ing with Kelly while serving as an aide to former con­gress­man Charlie Dougherty.

Tauben­ber­ger cred­ited Kelly with spur­ring loc­al job cre­ation and eco­nom­ic de­vel­op­ment. It was Kelly who se­cured the Cham­ber’s cur­rent of­fice, a former park guard sta­tion at 8601 Roosevelt Blvd. The of­fice was ded­ic­ated on Dec. 11, 1974, and then-May­or Frank L. Rizzo at­ten­ded the rib­bon-cut­ting ce­re­mony.

Kelly re­ceived a num­ber of hon­ors this past year.

In Ju­ly 2011, to mark his 85th birth­day, the mu­sic fest­iv­al band­shell stage was named the “Ed Kelly Stage.” 

Last Novem­ber, Kelly was grand mar­shal of the May­fair-Holmes­burg Thanks­giv­ing Parade. Last Decem­ber, he turned on the lights on the Christ­mas tree sponsored by the May­fair Busi­ness As­so­ci­ation and May­fair Civic As­so­ci­ation. In March, Mc­Carthy called to tell him he had been se­lec­ted for the Hall of Fame.

Kelly is sur­vived by his wife of 61 years, Jane; chil­dren, in ad­di­tion to Nancy, are Kath­leen, Mar­ita, Patti, Mi­chael, Ju­lie and Ted; 13 grand­chil­dren; and one great-grand­child.

A view­ing will be held on Fri­day from 8 to 10:45 a.m. at Re­sur­rec­tion of Our Lord Church, Castor and Shelmire av­en­ues. A fu­ner­al Mass will be cel­eb­rated at 11 a.m. Fox Fu­ner­al Home is hand­ling the ar­range­ments. In lieu of flowers, dona­tions can be sent to Pennypack Park Mu­sic Fest­iv­al via ••

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