South Dennis Massachusetts
Albert E. Kelley of South Dennis Massachusetts died peacefully December 28, 2016, after a brief illness. He was Christmas Shopping on Friday and went to heaven on Wednesday.
Born in Dennis on Dec. 18, 1928, Son of Ella Grace and Aaron Kelley Jr, Bert grew up in Harwich and Dennis fishing the waters of the Swan and Bass Rivers with his Grandfather Aaron Kelley Sr. He went on to Weir fishing both Nantucket Sound and Cape Cod Bay. His biggest single handed haul was 55 barrels of squid into Barnstable Harbor. His favorite story is one about the 25 foot Great White shark caught in the Weir.
Following his Honorable Discharge from The United States Navy in 1954, he settled with his new wife Carolyn Stewart (of Quincy and Cape Cod) on a hill over looking Follins Pond on The Bass River.
He taught his children how to harvest Scallops, Quahogs, Clams and more from the River. He talked much about the historic weather, like the hurricanes of ’38, ’44, and ’54. He said 1944 was the worst on Cape Cod.
As a professional electrician he wired and worked on thousands of homes on The Cape.
In retirement he and Carolyn enjoyed winters in Florida and summers on Bass River.
He was an award winning gardener, always sharing his bounty with friends and neighbors. He continued to fish the ocean and shellfish the rivers well into his 80s. As a Grandfather he relished time with Matthew and William Kelley.
Bert is predeceased by son John F. Kelley, Sisters Peg and Kitty, and brother Frank.
He leaves behind wife Carolyn Ann Stewart Kelley, his sister Julia Grace Speakman
Daughters Sandra L. Moutoux (husband Steve), and Virginia A. Dafiotis. Sons Robert A. Kelley, Timothy S. Kelley (wife Janet), Kevin E. Kelley, and Edward A. Kelley (fiance Diane). Grandsons Matthew and William Kelley. And many nieces and nephews.
Robert A Kelley:
We are here today not to mourn a life lost……. but rather to celebrate a life well
Albert Ernest Kelley / Bert / Dad / Old Dear……
His life had a pretty rough start, a very good middle, and a great finish.
As I look around I think Dad would be pleased. Thank you all for coming.
I say, “I think” he would be pleased, because as you know Dad was not
one to wear his emotions on his sleeve. A man of few words, but a man of action,
a man of many good deeds, great and small.
Dad could fix or repair just about anything. Or at least rig it up. You see, Dad
liked to do things a certain way…. his way. There’s even a little road in North
Harwich named for him, “BERT’S WAY”. When we were teenagers what that
really meant was his way or the highway. But over the years, through thick and
thin, “Bert’s Way”…. Unique, practical, thoughtful, well-meaning, and sometimes
even comical, served both him and his family well, and all who knew him too.
Tim, Kev, Ed, and maybe a cousin or two, will tell you Dad’s favorite tools were
a pair of Rusty, Yellow Handled, pliers and a bucket of grease. He’d just
dunk those pliers in the SALT-WATER, and work them up a bit, with those big hands, as
good as new. Our friend Bill Kimball used to say “Biggest Hands I ever saw”, Bill my
backside would agree. And grease, Dad loved him some Grease, we will be wiping
grease off of ……. stuff, and our clothes for years to come, I’m sure it will bring a smile
and a fond memory every time we do.
I learned many valuable life skills from Dad. On a calm, wind-less night, in shallow
water, I can fish for flounder with just a flashlight and a pitchfork. In a minute I can
splice together the power-cord on an ELECTRIC lawnmower.
He taught me the value of work ….. and sometimes how to avoid it.
In the early days, after working Monday thru Saturday, on a Sunday I’d see him digging
cesspools, BY HAND, along with the other ZEKES. They are all in Zeke heaven now
except for uncle Duney.
On many occasions, over many years, I saw him head down the river well before
sun-up, dredge for scallops, work a full day wiring houses, come home and have
his supper, then go down cellar and shuck those scallops till 10 or 11 at night, and the
get up and do it all again the next day, and the next and the next.
He taught me you do what you have to do for your family, sometimes while
doing without yourself.
By accident or design he shared many other valuable skills and life lessons as well.
But the most valuable lesson he ever taught me, oddly enough came out of the
Dennis-Yarmouth school system, and an institution we both attended,
albeit some 25 years apart. I’m talking about Ezra H. Baker elementary school, in
West Dennis. Back in the day, you didn’t pass or fail, there were no satisfactory or
unsatisfactory grades. No, back then you got letter grades A through F. And I think we
all know what the F stands for. Anyway back then you actually got 3 letter grades in
each subject. One for academic achievement, one for effort, and one for conduct.
Dad never put too much emphasize on the academic grade, sure he wanted us to
do well, and took great pride in it when we did, but he knew….not everyone has the
same aptitude, interest or abilities, so…..the grade you got for academic
achievement was pretty well accepted. But those other two categories…… if you
did not get at least B’s in EFFORT you were in trouble, and if you didn’t bring home
A’s in CONDUCT you were in REALLY BIG trouble.
That’s how Albert E. lived his life…. that’s how Dad / Bert / Old Dear…. led by
example… give your best effort, treat people well, do the right thing and the
results will take care of themselves.
That’s is a life well lived……. that’s “BERT’S WAY”….
R.A. Kelley 1/3/2017
Dad, It was great to get to know you the last few years. Yes, we got some special time together since you were dismissed from Hospice in 2015, for being too healthy!
Though at age 86 you advised us not to go past 85, I said I only drive 73, you said don’t LIVE past 85. Yet you did, and it was a bonus for us all.. Though you were in pain much of the time, and drove Mom a little nuts, the last 2 years were a bonus! I got to write down many of your quirky sayings. Yogi Berra has little on you.
Even your buddy Dave Ahern had to write a few down. One of the more brief quips, from Dave’s notes in 1998: “Bledsoe has a doubt problem.” We get it!
I have a bunch more.. maybe we’ll ad them in here later.
This post is to allow others to hear some of your stories.
Here is a tiny sample from our conversations during your last years.
Seems as though every story started in 1944.. the year you had to leave school to care for your family.
Also a few photos mixed in.
We love and miss you..
Mom ‘Carolyn’, Sandy, Virginia, Robert, Timothy, Kevin, Edward, Matthew, and William
and everyone you touched over nine decades on Cape Cod..