Colonel (Ret.) Arthur L. Kelly

August 7, 1925 ~ July 27, 2023 (age 97) 97 Years Old


Colonel (Ret.) Arthur L. Kelly, age 97, of Bowling Green, KY passed away at 6:20 am., Thursday, July 27, 2023, at his home. 

A native of Washington County, he was born on August 7,1925, to the late Louis and Mary Arthur Cecil Kelly. 

He was a member of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Bowling Green, KY. 

He was a United States veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. During World War II, he served in the enlisted ranks in the Corps of Engineers in the Philippines while his unit prepared for the invasion of Japan. While in Korea in 1952, Lieutenant Kelly served as an Artillery Forward Observer and Battery Executive Officer. In July 1966, after completing the Marine Corps Command and General Staff College, he joined the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division (Air Mobile) at An Khe, Vietnam and took command of the 1/77th Field Artillery Battalion. His remarkable military career of thirty years saw this distinguished Kentuckian fill every rank in the army from Private to Colonel. He retired from active military service in 1976. 

After retirement he began interviewing World War II veterans to capture their combat experiences so that the public and future generations could better understand the horrors of war. From these interviews came his book, BattleFire! Combat Stories from World War II  

Colonel Kelly was a highly decorated veteran with three Legions of Merit, two Bronze Stars, and numerous other decorations. He also earned an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree at Morehead State University. 

Preceding him in death was his first wife, Ollie Lee Hays Kelly on August 1, 1974; a daughter, Sara; two sisters, Mary Jane Barber, and Patricia Barber and two brothers, John W. Kelly, and Francis Rucker Kelly. 

Survivors include his wife, Jane Phillips Kelly; two sons, Arthur Daniel Kelly (Darlene) of Springfield and Steven Hays Kelly of Charlotte, NC; three daughters, Sue Anne Ballard (James) of Elizabethtown, Deborah Jane Hissam (Andy) of Madison, AL and Krista Lee Thompson (Ron) of Springfield; two step-daughters, Sally Ray Vincent (Roger) of Bowling Green and Susan Ray Dickinson (John) of Danville; twelve grandchildren; two step-grandchildren; nineteen great grandchildren, one step-great grandchild and two sisters, Elizabeth Cline (Bo) of Chattanooga, TN and Rita Boone of Madison, IN. 

Arthur loved his family as they loved him. He enjoyed the company of friends. He never held a grudge and did not complain. He accepted God’s will in all things, even to the very end. 

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., August 12th at the St. Rose Catholic Church with Rev. Edmund Ditton, officiating. 

Burial of his cremains will be in the St. Rose Cemetery where military rites will be conducted by the Marion County Veterans Honor Guard. 

Visitation will be after 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning at the church. 

Carey & Son Funeral Home oversees the arrangements.

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August 12, 2023

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
St. Rose Catholic Church
868 Loretto Rd
Springfield, KY 40069

Funeral Mass
August 12, 2023

11:00 AM
St. Rose Catholic Church
868 Loretto Rd
Springfield, KY 40069

Burial of Cremains with Military Honors
August 12, 2023

St. Rose Catholic Church Cemetery
868 Loretto Rd
Springfield, KY 40069


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