William “Bill” Kelly’s smile was infectious – often warming the hearts of friends and strangers alike inside .
But as news of Kelly’s death spread throughout town Monday, those warm hearts turned heavy as the Medfield community grieved the loss of a lifelong resident as iconic in town as the Main Street store he owned for 59 years.
Members of the Medfield community took to Social Media sources like Facebook and – mourning the loss of a great man while sharing fond memories of a dear friend who died Sunday at the in Medfield. He was 89 years old.
Here’s what the community had to say about Kelly:
“Bill Kelly will be forever missed,” said Board of Selectmen chair Ann Thompson. “Sympathies to the family.”
"He has been a fixture in the town," said Medfield Superintendent of Schools Bob Maguire. "Billy Kelly was just one of those guys that every time you met him, he made me feel like I was the most important person in the world, and I don’t get that a lot. He always had a way of being so personable and caring about my family and he was always thinking about you … just one of those special people. My heart goes out to his family."
“What a wonderful man and family,” said Melanie Gorman Wright. “Like many others, my first job was at Lord's Department Store. I learned so much from Mr. Lord, Mr. Kelly, and Mrs. Kelly. That job was a great first work experience for me and I remember it fondly. My thought and prayers are with the Kelly family. God Bless.”
“This man sold me balloons well after the store had started to close down to help me out because I needed them the next day to ask my date to prom,” said JoeT. “He is one of the Medfield Legends and will be sorely missed. Prayers go out to his family.”
“We are so very sad to hear of Mr. Kelly’s passing! He always greeted us with a cheerful personality and always asked how our kids were doing. Such a pleasure to know you Bill … RIP. Your smile will be missed,” said Bill and Claire O’Neil.
“So sad! RIP Mr. Kelly,” said Brenda Voltaire Ripp.
“Bless him,” said Emily Hicks.
“Such a nice, generous man,” said Errin Chapin. “Tom and Nancy were so fortunate to have such a man as their father.”
“Condolences to the entire Kelly family,” said Barbara Kee Andrulonis.
“Lord’s was our bus stop for years,” said Cheryl Speed.
“He will be missed,” said Geri Gorman.
“He was the nicest man! So sorry to hear this. Our thoughts and prayers to the Kelly/Lavin family,” Sherry Rossi Triest said.
“RIP Mr. Kelly!” said Alan James Patterson.
“Billy and I went through the Ralph Wheelock School after it burned down, I forget when,” said Bob Knight. “We thought we had a treasure when we came out with a few pencils and rulers. What memories.”
“What a sweet man! He always had a smile on his face,” Jamais McCullough Trujillo said. “That smile made working at Lord's memorable!”
“So sad,” said Lauren Lowe. “I worked at Lord’s back in the late 90s while in high school and he was always so sweet!”
“RIP Mr. Kelly,” said Elizabeth Pecorelli Del Guidice. “Always smiling. Thanks for the fond memories of my trips to Lord’s as a kid.”
“RIP Bill. Lord’s was/is such a Medfield icon and you made it what it is today,” said Kay Harrison.
“I’m so sad … he was my first boss!” said Charlotte Fernald Maliff.
“Mr. Kelly was a kind and generous man, and such a big part of our town,” said Donna Lutrario Dragotakes. “We will always remember him.”
“Very sad news! He was my first boss! I spent a few years at Lord’s! Sending my love and condolences to Tom and Nancy and their families,” said Jenn Rose Holland.
“Very sad,” said James Cos. “Mr. Kelly hooked me up with the Boston Globe and thus I started my first job at the age of 10. Great guy.”
“Will miss Mr. Kelly so much! What a sweet man with a giant heart! I have spent 20 years working with him!” said Misty LaPlante Hatch.
According to Kelly’s obituary, which can be viewed at Roberts Mitchell Funeral Service’s website, the lifetime resident was a member of the Class of 1941 and went off to serve in the U.S. Navy as a 1st Class Ships Cook prior to graduation.
In 2003, the Medfield School Department held a special graduation ceremony in 2003 for all the students during that time that went to war.
Kelly has been the owner/proprietor of Lord’s Department Store on Main Street since 1953. to read more about Kelly and his Main Street business. Before owning Lord’s, Kelly was an employee of the business under Ray Lord, beginning in 1940, according to Kelly’s obituary. Mr. Lord told Kelly that after the war, his job would be waiting for him when he came home. As a result, Kelly enjoyed a 72-year career at the Main Street department store.
Kelly was a World War II veteran and a 65-year member of the in Medfield.
Kelly is the beloved husband of Katherine June (Hinkley) and is the loving father of Thomas W. Kelly and his wife Beth and daughter Nancy Kelly Lavin and her husband Christopher. He is also survived by four grandchildren – Sarah E. and Catherine J. Kelly and Colton W. and Cally June Lavin – all of Medfield.
Visiting hours at the , 15 Miller St., will be on Friday, May 18th from 4 to 8 p.m. The American Legion will conduct their service during visiting hours at 7 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, May 19 at 11 a.m. at , 133 Spring St. Burial with military honors will follow in the family lot at Vine Lake Cemetery.
If desired, contributions in Kelly’s memory may be made to the Medfield Home Committee, 459 Main St., Medfield, MA 02052