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500 Attend Rites For West Haven Chief

Members of the protective services from throughout Connecticut and representatives of New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority paid tribute to Chief Michael J. Kelly of West Haven at services in St. Lawrence Church in his hometown.

Mr. Kelly died Nov. 12 at Connecticut Hospice. He suffered a coronary attack Aug. 22, while on duty, during a meeting with Mayor H. Richard Borer in City Hall. The 51-year-old veteran of the West Haven department never regained consciousness.

Approximately 500 people attended the Mass of Christian Burial for Mr. Kelly.
They heard his brother, Arthur, describe him as “a humble man, proud of his family and proud of the West Haven Police Department” who “made sure West Haven was a safe place to live and work.”

Several honor guards led a horse- drawn coach which carried Mr. Kelly’s body through much of the city and later, following the Mass, to St. Lawrence Cemetery.

Mr. Kelly joined the department in 1971 and worked his way up through the ranks. He was named chief in 1994. He was credited with solving several high profile crimes and apprehending a number of armed burglary and robbery suspects.

As chief, Mr. Kelly oversaw the computerization of the department, reorganized the personnel structure and was successful in obtaining federal and state grants to improve several operations.

Mr. Kelly was born in New Haven, Sept. 6, 1949, the son of Mary Jane Mansfield Kelly and the late Arthur J. Kelly. In addition to his mother he leaves his wife Linda Gardner Kelly; a son, Evan M. Kelly of West Haven; two daughters, Caitlin G. Kelly and Mary Kate Kelly, both of West Haven; a brother, Arthur J. Kelly, Jr.; and two sisters, Mrs. Mary Jane Morrissey and Mrs. Marcy J. Hotchkiss, both of West Haven.

Mr. Kelly graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of New Haven. He was a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Connecticut Chiefs of Police Association and was vice president of the South Central Chiefs of Police Association. Also, he was a founding member of the West Haven department’s Emerald Society.

Representatives of The Hundred Club have visited the Kelly family.