SOUTHINGTON - On the day of his funeral last Friday, Arthur Kelly was remembered as a staple at the local car shows by Music on the Green coordinator Jerry Limmer.
Limmer said he had been friends with Kelly, who died Aug. 25, for around 30 years.
“He was a good guy, very easygoing,” said Limmer. “I talked to him many times at different car shows and he worked at Commercial Auto Body for a number of years. I know a lot of car guys used to meet him there every morning for coffee. He loved his street rods and custom cars and he was a master body man and mechanic. Cars were a big part of his life.”
Limmer recalled seeing Kelly bring his 1941 Willys Model 441 as well as a 1934 Ford Coupe to the Music on the Green.
“It was a beautiful car; all metal, not like the fiberglass cars of today,” Limmer said of the Ford Coupe.
At a typical car show, Limmer said, Kelly could be found sitting with three to five friends talking about their classic vehicles with one another and anyone who stopped by to chat with him.
The Tuesday following Kelly’s funeral, Dean Aldi, the current manager at Commercial Auto Body, said Kelly retired four months ago.
“He worked here in the ’60s right out of high school,” said Aldi. “I was a kid, maybe 7 or 8 years old, when he was a teenager. Then he moved away for a while before coming back and taking the job again. He was a good guy and he liked to rebuild cars and make them nice and roadworthy again.”
Kelly died after he crashed into a parked car while driving his Willys on North Main Street. He was ejected from his vehicle and sustained serious injuries. He was transported to Hartford Hospital where he died.
According to his obituary, Kelly was the son of the late Arthur Kelly Sr. and Margaret (Anderson) Kelly. He was a former manager at Commercial Auto Body and is survived by his son Ryan Kelly and his wife Lisa, his son Jeff Kelly and his wife Gail, his daughter Beth Kelly and her husband Toby Kulas, and eight grandchildren.
In addition to his love of cars, Kelly was an avid sports fan and loved spending time with friends and family.
Kelly’s memorial service was held at DellaVecchia Funeral Home.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.