Thomas Aloysius Kelly, 87 years of age, a long-time resident of Blairstown, passed away at home on Feb. 22, 2023. He was born in Orange on March 22, 1935 to Joseph and Mildred (Heilman) Kelly.
Tom attended both Seton Hall Prep and University where he earned a degree in business management, and was enrolled in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC). He rose to the rank of cadet lieutenant colonel, and by his senior year was appointed as commander of the Cadet Regiment.
Upon graduating in 1956, he was commissioned into the U.S. Army with the rank of first lieutenant, training and serving throughout the country as unit commander of the 1st Medium Tank Battalion (Patton), 34th Armor. After completing his service in 1958, Tom moved back to Newark and joined his father and brothers in the family’s manufacturing business, J.T. Kelly & Sons. He continued serving in the U.S. Army Reserve until 1962.
Tom and his family moved to Chester in 1966 where he helped found the township’s special police division, and also served as an officer for several years.
Tom was a creative entrepreneur. In 1974, he started his own manufacturing business as founder and president of General Wire Stamping Co. Inc. in Randolph, still family-owned and in operation today.
Tom also was an accomplished martial artist earning a second degree black belt. He opened his own karate school in Mendhamin the mid-70s where he taught, serving the community at large.
He met and married Judith Aiello Idler early in 1979 and moved to Blairstown. Always the outdoor enthusiast, Tom enjoyed nature and loved working on his homes and beautifying their landscapes.
Tom achieved so many things in his life and touched the lives of countless others throughout his nearly 88 years. He was a very proud, loving family man having eight children, 21 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years; his daughters, Kathleen (Kelly) Mohanna and Sherri (Idler) Konopka and her husband Anthony; sons Thomas, Jr. and his wife Beverly, Kenneth and his wife Loretta, Alfred, Michael and his wife Linda, Kenneth Idler and his wife Jacki; and daughter-in-law Jacquie Idler, wife of his son Steven who predeceased him.
A period of visitation will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023 at Newbaker Funeral Home, 200 Route 94, Blairstown, followed by a Catholic Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m., Monday Feb. 27, 2023 at St. Jude Roman Catholic Church, 7 Eisenhower Road, Columbia.