John Brenden Kelly, Jr.

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John Brenden Kelly, Jr.

Also Known As: "aka Kell Kelly", "Jack Kelly"
Birthdate: (57)
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA, United States
Death: May 2, 1985 (57)
Philadelphia, PA, United States
Place of Burial: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John B. Kelly, Sr. and Margaret Katherine Kelly
Father of <private> Kelly
Brother of Margaret Conlan (Kelly); Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Anne LeVine

Occupation: Olympic Rower, Bricklayer
Managed by: Joseph William Thomas
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Brenden Kelly, Jr.,_Jr.

"John Brendan Kelly, Jr. (born May 24, 1927, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – died May 2, 1985, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), also known as Kell Kelly or Jack Kelly, was an accomplished oarsman, a four-time Olympian, and an Olympic medal winner. He was also the son of triple Olympic gold medal winner John B. Kelly, Sr. In 1947, Kelly was awarded the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States.

Kelly's sister was the famous movie-star-turned-princess, Grace Kelly (HSH Princess Grace of Monaco), which makes him the maternal uncle of Monaco's current monarch Prince Albert II. Kelly's uncle George Kelly was a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright.

Kelly became active in politics and was a strong supporter of athletics, and in 1985 was appointed President of the United States Olympic Committee."

I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 24th, 192. My dad was John Kelly Sr. and my mom was Margaret Majer Kelly. The elder Kelly, an Irish immigrant who achieved wealth and success in the bricklaying business; was an outstanding rower, winning two gold medals (single and double skulls) in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics and one gold medal (double skull) at the 1924 Paris Olympics. My mom had been a physical education instructor at the University of Pennsylvania, and the first coach of women's sports teams at Penn. Mom and Dad established a wealthy, successful clan; his four children included not just me, but also Grace Kelly, the legendary actress who became Princess Grace of Monaco.

After entering the College of the University of Pennsylvania in 1946, I became active in the Newman Club, Phi Kappa Beta, and the Sphinx Senior Honor Society. I also served as president of my fraternity, Kappa Sigma, and as a member of the Inter-Fraternity Council. The 1950 yearbook includes a six page pictorial spread (beginning on page 260) detailing my activities at the interfraternity weekend; my date was Bebe Shopp, Miss America of 1948. I was best known, however, as a varsity rower.

While I was a student at Penn, I participated in the 1948 Olympics as rower in the single sculls event but failed to earn a medal until my third attempt in 1956. I also won the gold medal at the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City, was a United States national champion five times, and won Canadian, Swiss and many other European championships during my years as a competitive rower. My last Olympic attempt as an athlete was in 1960, but after that I continued to be active in the Olympics and I served in 1964 as manager of the eight-man boat, in 1968 as a member of the committee for the modern pentathlon, and then in other capacities before being elected as President of the United States Olympic Committee in 1985.

Aside from my athletic accomplishments, Kelly went into his father's bricklaying business and I was active in the Philadelphia social scene and in many philanthropic and civic agencies. Throughout his tenure at John B. Kelley Incorporated, I was President and Director of the Philadelphia Athletic Club and Director of the Pennsylvania Ballet. I also served on the Philadelphia City Council as a Councilman-at-large for twelve years, as a director of Lincoln National Bank and as Chairman of the 1976 World's Fair in Philadelphia. Kelly was also generous with my wealth and gave regularly to a number of charities including several funds at the University of Pennsylvania. I was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1969.

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John Brenden Kelly, Jr.'s Timeline

May 24, 1927
Philadelphia, PA, United States
November 12, 1929
Age 2
Philadelphia, PA, United States
- 1950
Age 18
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
September 18, 1982
Age 55
Grimaldi family vault; Cathedral of Saint Nicholas, Monte Carlo, Monaco

Princess Grace was buried in the Grimaldi family vault on September 18, 1982, after a requiem mass in Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Monaco. Prince Rainier, who never remarried after Kelly's death, was buried alongside her following his death in 2005. The 400 guests at the service included representatives of foreign governments and of present and past European royal houses, as well as several veteran US film stars. Nearly 100 million people worldwide watched her funeral.

In his eulogy, James Stewart said: "You know, I just love Grace Kelly. Not because she was a princess, not because she was an actress, not because she was my friend, but because she was just about the nicest lady I ever met. Grace brought into my life as she brought into yours, a soft, warm light every time I saw her, and every time I saw her was a holiday of its own. No question, I'll miss her, we'll all miss her, God bless you, Princess Grace."

May 2, 1985
Age 57
Philadelphia, PA, United States
May 1985
Age 57
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States