Former AD stayed involved in Penn-Trafford athletics
Even in retirement, John Patrick “Pat” Kelly Jr. couldn't stay away from Penn-Trafford athletics.
Though he stepped down from his post as Penn-Trafford athletic director in 1997, Kelly remained an avid fan of Warrior sports and regularly kept score for the high school volleyball teams.
His son-in-law, Jim Schall, coaches both the boys' and girls' teams.
Kelly, 76, of Penn Township, died Dec. 24.
“He just loved being with the kids,” one of Kelly's two daughters, Nancy Schall, said of his ongoing interest in Penn-Trafford sports.
“He loved being part of that.”
Before retiring, Kelly had a nearly 40-year run with the school district as a member of the athletic program or as a history teacher.
After serving as a football coach for the former Penn Joint High School, Kelly became the first head football coach for Penn-Trafford in 1972, after a merger with Trafford High School.
He guided the football program for seven years, and then completed a stint as the school's equipment manager before taking the reins of the athletic department in 1985.
Longtime school board member Nick Petrucci described Kelly as a warm-hearted man who lived for Penn-Trafford.
“You can't say enough good things about him,” Petrucci said.
“He was always a gentleman and always polite. His blood was 100-percent green and gold. He was a tremendous guy.”
Penn Township police Chief John Otto, who has been a friend of one of Kelly's three sons, Chris, for more than 30 years, said he also grew very close to Kelly.
“My relationship with Pat changed significantly over the past 10 years to the point that I considered him one of my closest personal friends,” Otto said.
“We enjoyed a lot of long conversations and great times together, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to know him the way that I did.”
Nancy Schall said her father stayed active in his golden years by walking three miles a day, lifting weights, riding snowmobiles and even mowing her family's yard, which abuts her parents' property.
Kelly took a suggestion from his wife, Joyfa, to take up golfing and soon became fixated with the game, Schall said.
One of his favorite pastimes was to head to a Jefferson County hunting camp for a long weekend in which Kelly and his three sons would golf and find a local high school football game to watch.
“He definitely enjoyed life because he went and he did,” Schall said.
Kelly is survived by his wife of 54 years, Joyfa Hague Kelly, three sons, two daughters and nine grandchildren.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8671 or firstname.lastname@example.org.