John Brenden Kelly, Jr.
|Also Known As:||"aka Kell Kelly", "Jack Kelly"|
|Birthplace:||Philadelphia, PA, USA|
|Death:||Died in Philadelphia, PA, USA|
|Place of Burial:||Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Occupation:||Olympic Rower, Bricklayer|
|Managed by:||Joseph William Thomas|
Historical records matching John Brenden Kelly, Jr.
About John Brenden Kelly, 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.