Joseph Andrew Kelly, age 94, passed away on May 15, 2020 from complications due to Covid-19. Born on November 10, 1925, he was the beloved son of the late Michael Joseph Kelly and Mary Catherine (Walsh) Kelly. Joe was husband to the late Anne Sheehan Kelly, whom he adored dearly. Joe is survived by his daughter Paula Kelly Migliaccio and his three granddaughters and two grandsons-in-law: Kathryn Migliaccio Choiniere and her husband Joshua Choiniere; Elizabeth Anne Migliaccio; and Emily Jeanne Migliaccio and her husband Andrew Fowler. He also leaves his many nieces and nephews and godchildren. Joseph was predeceased by his son, Joseph A. Kelly, Jr. and his sisters Mary Kelly Bracken and Margaret Kelly Dixon.
Joe graduated from La Salle Academy before serving in the Navy as a navigator during World War II. On returning he attended Providence College. Thereafter, he received his Juris Doctorate degree from Northeastern Law in 1951. He began practicing as a solo practitioner before joining the firm of Daniels and Kelly. Later, he founded the firm of Carroll, Kelly and Murphy with his beloved law partner, James E. Murphy and the late Ambrose W. Carroll. In 2009, he again founded a solo practice where he was active until his final illness. He was a fellow of the American College of Trial Attorneys and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He served for many years on the Board of Bar Examiners. In Joe’s more-than-65 years practicing law, he developed a deep passion for the law and earned a reputation in the community for his civility, professionalism, mentorship, exceptional trial presence, and storytelling. The Rhode Island Bar Association recognized Joe as exemplifying the “epitome of professionalism in the law” with the coveted Ralph P. Semonoff Award for Professionalism in 1999 and for his dedication to mentorship with the Joseph T. Houlihan Lifetime Mentor Award in 2009. Joe relished the friendships he made among his colleagues and clients.
Above all, Joe’s greatest joy in life was his family. He was a dedicated family man who will be remembered for his goofy sense of humor, his emotional intelligence, and his general love of life. Joe not only cherished his daughter and three granddaughters and grandsons-in-law, but also his sisters, sister-in-law and brothers-in-law and their families.
Joseph was also devoted to his faith, and was a longtime communicant of both St. Paul Church in Cranston and St. Timothy Church in Warwick. He was Chairman of the School Committee of St. Paul School for many years. In his spare time, Joe enjoyed golfing and, as legend has it, he once caddied for Sam Snead.
Private services will be held on Thursday, May 21, 2020 in Rhode Island.
A Mass of Remembrance and a celebration of his life will be scheduled at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Paul School, 1789 Broad Street, Cranston RI 02905.
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