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Dr. Richard (Dick) Kelly Obituary & Services

Dr. Richard ‘Dick’ E. Kelly, Ph.D.
May 16, 1937 – February 4, 2019

La Jolla: Dick Kelly passed away at home on February 4thfollowing a spirited fight against cancer and Parkinson’s.  He was born in Des Moines, Iowa, where he attended St. Augustine elementary school before moving with his parents and two siblings, Bill Kelly and Sheila (Kelly) O’Neil to Omaha, Nebraska where his father owned a pharmacy.  Dick attended Creighton Preparatory high school in Omaha and then Regis College, Denver (now Regis University) where he graduated with a degree in Latin.  He entered the U.S. Naval Reserve and was on active duty for four years.  He stayed active in the reserves for seven more years leaving the Navy as a Lt. Commander.  He graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with both an M.A. (Secondary Administration & Guidance Counseling)and a Ph.D. (Education Administration).  While in Colorado Dick welcomed two foster boys into his care; one, Marc Brown, eventually moved with Dick to California.

Prior to Dick’s relocation to San Diego he was a teacher and administrator at schools in Denver, Lamar and Boulder Colorado, as well as Rapid City, South Dakota.  He then moved to San Diego to become the Principal at School of the Madeleine in Bay Park for 5 years before filling the role of Vice Principal at St. Augustine High School in North Park.  In 1989 he transitioned to The University of San Diego High School (now Cathedral Catholic High School) as the Vice Principal, and then assumed the roles of Principal and President during a distinguished 15-year tenure at the coed-Catholic High School, formerly located in Linda Vista.  While at Uni, Dick was very instrumental in the vision, design and building of Cathedral Catholic High School in Del Mar. He retired in 2004.

During his time at Uni High – Dick served the greater educational community in the following ways: as an instructor for the University of San Diego, School of Education program; as a founding member of Nativity Prep Academy; and, as a supporter of the Global Leadership Connection centered around leadership opportunities and scholarships for high-school students.  It is evident from his life’s work that Dick was a fervent champion of education and an advocate for students.  During a recent recognition of Dick for being one of the founding members of Nativity Prep Academy, former student, Maria (Centanni) Power said about Dick that “his career was all about creating spaces for others to succeed”.

Perhaps the only two things that mattered more to Dick than his students were his faith and family.  He was an active member of All Hallows Catholic Church.  Dick was married to Ruth (Pflaum) Kelly for 34 years and he leaves her behind, along with Ruth’s 4 children, George (Lyn) Pflaum, Anne (Ted) Peterson, Jill (Gene) Walsh, Jane Pflaum and his foster son, Marc (Hannah).  His greatest joy throughout the year, especially at Christmas, were 11 grandchildren: Therese Glass (Greg) and Matt Pflaum; Jack (Marisa), Bo (Lila), Will and Michael Peterson; John (Katie), Ryan and Dylan Walsh; Cecilia and Richard Brown; and 3 great grandchildren, Teddy and Robert Peterson and Audrey Glass.

Our family would like to thank Elizabeth Hospice for the incredible support and care of Dick this past week and AdvantaCare for the tireless caregivers who have been assisting our parents since June. We are deeply grateful.

In lieu of flowers Dick would be humbled if you were to send a donation to Nativity Prep Academy (2755 55thSt, San Diego, 92105) or to the student scholarship fund bearing his name at Cathedral Catholic High School (5555 Del Mar Heights Rd, San Diego, 92130).

Services will be held on Saturday, February 9 at 11:00 am at All Hallows Catholic Church – 6602, La Jolla Scenic Drive South, La Jolla, 92037.  A reception for everyone will immediately follow in the parish hall.

“I am home in Heaven, dear ones; Oh, so happy and so bright! There is perfect joy and beauty in this everlasting light.”