Lucy A. McKay Kelly

12/22/2010 9:35 AM |

Lucy A. McKay Kelly

Lucy Angeline McKay Kelly died on Dec. 20, 2010.

A lifelong resident of Riverhead, she was born at home on Jan. 6, 1926, one of 12 children of prominent farmers Charles and Katherine (Babski) McKay. After graduating from Riverhead High School at age 17 in 1943, Lucy loved her early job at the Riverhead Review as a proofreader, photographer and writer.

As a vivacious young woman in a town that billeted thousands of soldiers before they shipped out to Europe in World War II, Lucy broke many hearts at the Polish Hall dances. Sometimes the pilots would tip their wings passing over the McKay farm, with its name emblazoned on the barn roof. But she waited until after the war to meet the love of her life, William Allen Kelly, at a party she threw while her parents were away. After three months of courtship, they married on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, 1947, in the rectory at St. John the Evangelist R.C. Church, and were together for 47 years until his passing in 1994.

An active volunteer in the community, Lucy was a member of the Riverhead Polish Independent Club from 1943 to 1960; the ladies auxiliary at Central Suffolk Hospital from 1960 to 1970; the Riverhead Garden Club from 1960 to 1972; and a founding member of the Polish Town Civic Association from 1974 to 2008. She was instrumental in launching the latter’s Polish museum, which includes memorabilia from the McKay farm. Lucy loved to socialize and dance the polka, and among her happiest memories were many polka weekends in the Poconos and Catskills with her beloved William and their friends.

A homemaker for many years, Lucy later worked in the offices of the Suffolk County Commissioner of Jurors, a Riverhead title company and the Cook Insurance Agency in Jamesport. She also served for several years as a Democratic poll inspector and as a volunteer for the congressional campaign of Otis G. Pike.

Like her mother, Lucy was kind and generous to her family, friends and strangers, and was deeply loved by all who knew her. “Just be pleasant” was her motto.

Lucy was predeceased by her husband, William A. Kelly. She is survived by her children, Thomas A. Kelly and his wife, Deborah, of Auburn, N.Y.; Nancy A. Kelly of East Greenbush, N.Y.; Kevin A. Kelly and his wife, Sandra, of Dover, Pa.; and her grandchildren: Colin, Brett, Amanda and Jarret Kelly, and Peter and Laura Casellini. Her sister, Constance Bilski, also survives her. She was the eldest member of a large extended McKay family, with whom she celebrated a family reunion in July.

The family will receive visitors Sunday, Dec. 26, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead. Funeral services will be held at 9:30 a.m., Monday, Dec. 27, at St. John the Evangelist R.C. Church in Riverhead. Interment will follow at St. John’s Cemetery in Riverhead.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to The Pegasus Palliative Care Program at Peconic Bay Medical Center, Riverhead, NY 11901.

This is a paid notice.

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  • Please consider making a contribution to the new palliative care program at Peconic Bay Medical Center. They served as a timely and effective interface with the medical staff to provide information and to be a voice for the family’s wishes to avoid unnecessary procedures and keep Mom comfortable during her last days.