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Local Resident Celebrates 100th Birthday

Walter J. Kelly of Maplewood will celebrate his 100th birthday on September 28.

Walter J. Kelly. Credit: Joan Connolly
Walter J. Kelly. Credit: Joan Connolly

The saying 'early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise' has been the motto and secret to longevity for Walter J. Kelly, who will be celebrating his 100th birthday on Saturday.

“Walter would always rise at 5 a.m. and have his “Breakfast of Champions” (Wheaties), feed the birds, walk the dog, feed the cats, set-up everyone’s breakfast, and wake his children with 'Rise and shine, put your feet on the floor and a smile on your face,'” said Walter's daughter Joan Connolly. “

"His wife was graced with coffee in bed every morning. When his sleepy daughters would miss the 6:36 a.m. school bus, Walter would chase the bus in his car to get them started on the right foot for the school day.”

“Whenever one of his children was sick, he would stop at lunch time with a puzzle book to brighten their day,” she added. “ After a hard day’s work, Walter was always on his way to slumber land by 7:00 p.m.”

Family, friends, neighbors (old and new), Columbia High School class of 1933, and former co-workers of Gefken’s Florist, Rimmele Flower Shop, Chubb and Son and Our Lady of Sorrows Church and School are invited to an Open House at Walter’s home at 557 Summit Ave in Maplewood on Saturday, September 28 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to celebrate his 100 years of a life well lived.

“My Dad was born and raised at 71 Roland Ave. in South Orange and moved to 557 Summit Ave. in Maplewood 60 years ago,” said Connolly. “He has been a parishioner of Our Lady of Sorrows Church in South Orange, his whole life.”

Kelly graduated from Columbia High School in 1933, served in the U.S. Army in World War II, and raised three children with his wife Grace in South Orange before moving to Maplewood in 1956.

On Monday, Sept. 23, South Orange Village President Alex Torpey honored Kelly with an official proclamation from the township in honor of his birthday.

“He has consistently exemplified a type of community-oriented service and spirit valued so highly by the South Orange and Maplewood, therefore be it proclaimed by the Village President of the Township of South Orange Village, on behalf of the Board of Trustees and entire Village of South Orange, sincerest congratulations are hereby extended to Mr. Kelly as he celebrates his 100th birthday and fond memories of his life in South Orange,” he read.

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