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Thomas Kelly

Obituary of Thomas Kelly

Thomas M. Kelly Sr. graced us with his presence on March 7th, 1931, enjoying life for 90 years, until his demise September 17,2021. Tom was born to Joseph and Rose Kelly. Where he and his brother Joe learned core family values and a good work ethic in their home at 54 Littlefield Ave. in Buffalo. Going to Seneca Vocational gave Tom the opportunity to learn piano and saxophone among the other skilled trades. Playing in the school band started his love for the Big Band Sound. Then he started his first band "The High Hats” and his love of music never stopped. Later in life he again started a band, "Tom's Trio" and learned the Base Fiddle to increase their repertoire of dance tunes. They played on Land and Sea - playing on the Miss Buffalo at times. Tom chose to enlist in the Air Force after High School. May 18, 1951. He took a path to help defend our Nation as part of the 6550 Operations Squadron - Air Research & Development Command. Tom served the bulk of his term at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. Always talked about the transfer to jet engines from props and how he enjoyed working on the B-52's. Traveling from Florida to Buffalo on leave, Tom proposed to Frances Vogt and was married in 1952. They began a family in Florida. Then back to Buffalo upon Tom's discharge in May of 1955. They had five children; Joanne {Timothy McCoy); Thomas (Brigrtte); Michael (Colleen): John (Judy); and Patrick. Moved to West Seneca in 1957 to 58 Cambridge Ave. There Tom put his trade skills to work finishing the attic loft into a bedroom for the boys. Tom was never without a job. He usually had two. From being a Route Milkman for Fairmont Dairy. Tom was a car mechanic at Falkners - but mostly worked on friends and family cars in the home garage. Never satisfied, Tom learned to weld and worked for South Buffalo Railway. Then advancing to a Class A welder at Bethlehem Steel Plant where he put in 19 years. Tom was the welder that erected the scaffolding used to place the American Flag in distress some 250 feet high on the Furnace Stack for all to see when the plant closed in 1982. Even at age 52, he was not done, learning to be a Chief Boilermaker and took a position at Steuben Foods in 1984. Tom's continued work ethic prompted the opening of Kelly's Cafe in Elma with his son Tom Jr. in 1990. Again, utilizing his trade skills and transforming the interior into a viable dining room that could hold 50 people for a banquette. Tom constructed wasted space into a game room for the youth to hang out in safety. Not to mention retrofitting the HVAC and Walk-In Cooler compressors to operate properly. This man was truly a "JACK Of ALL TRADES" Tom still saved time for the Lord. Taking the family to Mass every Sunday. Enrolling the children into St, Bonaventure Grammar School. Tom became a Knight of St. John in 1963 and achieved the rank Lieutenant Colonel, and a Noble in1981. Tom also was a member of the Holy Name and participated in a number of functions to help the Church and School when needed. Then it was time to retire, travel and enjoy his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Tom had 12 grandchildren: Sean, Matthew, Nicole, Kerry, Christopher, Meagan, John, Steven, Tiffany, Michael, Stephanie, and Sarah. Tom was blessed with enough years to know and enjoy his 11 great grandchildren: Alyssa, Rian, Kira, Ean, Chole, Lucas, Jack, Luke, Ben, Eli and Luna Christmas Eve was Tom's special event - making sure everyone enjoyed the food, drink and presents. His door was always open, both to family and friends alike. The one party he could not use "The Irish Goodbye" Kelly, Thomas peacefully departed September 17, 2021 of West Seneca, NY. Beloved husband of the late Frances (nee Vogt) Kelly; devoted father of Joanne (Timothy) McCoy, Thomas (Brigette) Kelly, Michael (Colleen) Kelly, John (Judy) Kelly, and Patrick Kelly; cherished grandfather of 12 and great-grandfather of 11; loving brother of the late Joseph (Shirley) Kelly; also survived by nieces, nephews, and friends. Former Knight of St. John Commandry 381 for 58 years. Member of the Society of the Holy Name, St. Bonaventure, and St. John XXIII. Korean War Air Force veteran. Friends received Tuesday 9/21 from 2-7PM at LAKESIDE MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME, INC. 1340 Union Road, West Seneca, NY 14224. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Wednesday 9/22 at 10:30AM at St. John XXIII Church, 1 Arcade Street, West Seneca, NY 14224. Please assemble at church. Flowers gratefully accepted. For online condolences and flowers, please visit
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Visiting Hours

2:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home - West Seneca, NY
1340 Union Road
West Seneca, New York, United States

Mass of Christian Burial

10:30 am
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
St. John XXIII Church
1 Arcade Street
West Seneca, New York, United States