Russell James Kelly

Russell James Kelly, 77, of Cashiers passed away on Sunday, March 24, 2019, surrounded by his loving family.

He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Joseph and Frances Kelly.

He graduated from Christian Brothers High School, where he was a star student and lettered in soccer as a midfielder. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Engineering at St. Louis University and earned a master’s degree at Colorado State University in Biomedical Engineering.

After graduate school, he served as a biomedical engineer for NASA during Apollo 11, man's first lunar landing mission in 1969 -- one of his proudest accomplishments. During the historic mission, he was tasked with monitoring the vital signs of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

Later in his professional career, he founded Kelly Development Group, a software development company in Tallahassee, Florida. With his firm, he designed and developed the technology for the Sun Pass Toll Program in Florida as well as the Peach Pass in Georgia for each state’s Department of Transportation.  

He was a true Irishman and avid sports fan, beginning with a lifelong love of the St. Louis Cardinals, taking the bus to games at Sportsman’s Park as a boy. He was in Busch Stadium for the Cardinals’ ninth World Series victory in in 1982 and attended a majority of home opening day games, always with the love of his life and wife of 52 years, Catherine Lyles Kelly, by his side. While he and Cathy raised their family in Tallahassee, Russ became a supporter of the hometown Florida State Seminoles, where he was a football season ticket holder from 1979 until moving to Cashiers full-time in 2006.

He was an excellent golfer, learning the game as a caddy and playing throughout his life with friends and family at Killearn Estates in Tallahassee and Trillium in Cashiers.  

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Catherine Kelly; and daughters, Caroline Kelly, Catherine Sisung and Erin Haraway all of Atlanta, Georgia; brother, Don Kelly and sister-in-law Donna Kelly of Naples, Florida; sister-in-law, Joan Maher and brother-in-law, Steve Maher of St. Louis, Missori; sons-in-law, Brian Sisung and Will Haraway; and many beloved nieces and nephews. 

He was the proud grandfather of Connor, Vivie and Colin Isham; Lauren and Lexie Sisung; and Mackenzie and Lela Catherine Haraway.

He was an active member of St Jude Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus of Cashiers.  

“We love you Russ!” family members said. “May the wind be always at your back.”

Services are planned for Saturday, March 30 at St. Jude Catholic Church in Cashiers -- a 10:15 a.m. visitation time and 11 a.m. Mass, followed by a luncheon.

In lieu of flowers, please send a contribution in the name of Russ Kelly to Cashiers Cares, P.O. Box 1072, Cashiers, NC 28717.


Crossroads Chronicle

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1040
94 U.S. Highway 64 West, Suite 1 (Shoppes on the Green)
Cashiers, NC 28717
Phone: 828-743-5101
Fax: 828-743-4173