Richard D. Kelly, a former long-time resident of Altamont, died after a long illness at his home on Lakeview Road in East Berne on January 17. He was 77.
Dr. Kelly, known to his friends and family as Dick, was born in Kingston on August 24, 1935, to Elwina and Delmer Kelly. A precocious student, he received his Bachelor of Science degree from UAlbany (then known as New York State College for Teachers) in 1955 and his Master of Science degree from the same institution the next year. He earned his doctorate from Syracuse University in 1965.
Dick dedicated his life to the pursuit of learning and the dissemination of knowledge. He began teaching science in 1957 at Guilderland High School, where he launched an advanced biology course for gifted students that later became the basis for his dissertation. In 1963, he joined the faculty of UAlbany, where he would teach until 1989. He was one of two recipients of the university's first-ever Outstanding Teacher Awards, in 1972, and also won the Alumni Association's Excellence in Teaching Award in 1997. He also served on the Guilderland Board of Education from 1969-1972.
He taught for a year at the Hull College of Education, in England, where he was a visiting fellow, and for six years at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.
He was known by his students and fellow professors for his passion for science, his humor, his fairness, and his innovative teaching style: he was a pioneer in incorporating film, audio, and other media into his classroom and labs.
He was also an expert in marine mammals, especially whales and manatees, and was widely read in a variety of subjects, especially World War I aviation history. He built sophisticated and complex WWI model airplanes, and loved spending time in Thacher Park. He also loved fine firearms, hunting ruffed grouse in the woods, and bassett hounds – especially Walter, Henry, Georgie, and Barney.
His family was his passion. He was predeceased by his parents and by a son, Richard D. Kelly Jr. He is mourned by his wife of 58 years, Marianne Peckham Kelly of East Berne and Pensacola, and their children: daughter Kristen and her husband Dennis Korkos, of San Francisco; son Don and his wife Donna, of Altamont; and daughter Kate and her husband Bernard Ohanian, of Washington D.C.; and six grandchildren: Jaime Korkos of Norwood, Massachusetts, with her partner Sumer Genis; Nicholas Korkos of San Francisco; Raffi and Sofia Ohanian of Washington, D.C.; and Madison and Emma Kelly of Altamont.
Also mourning his passing are his brother Donald, with his wife Suzanne, of Bainbridge Island, WA, and brothers-in law Tom, David, Bill, and Larry Peckham and their families.
At Dick's request, there will be no calling hours or funeral service. The family expresses deep gratitude to the team from The Community Hospice of Albany County; contributions in Dick's memory may be made to The Community Hospice of Albany County, 445 New Karner Rd. Albany, NY 12205.