Patrick J. Kelly, a longtime Montana lawyer, passed away on June 7 after a lengthy illness in Billings, where he had been living since 2014.
Patrick was born July 1, 1942, in Miles City to Daniel G. Kelly and Mary Ellen (Leonard) Kelly. He was the eldest of five siblings, Kathleen, Daniel, Matthew, and Joseph. He graduated from Custer County High School in 1960. He graduated from the University of St. Thomas, St Paul, Minnesota, in 1964 and from the University of North Dakota Law School in 1968.
After law school, Patrick returned to Miles City to practice law with his father, Dan Kelly and his uncle, Jack Carr, in the law firm started by his grandfather, Patrick F. Leonard, in 1916. Patrick practiced law in Montana for more than fifty years.
Throughout his professional life, Patrick was driven by his desire to provide legal counsel to all and his deep regard for the rule of law. He was very active in the Montana State Democratic Party. He attended several National Conventions as a delegate and worked tirelessly for Democratic Party candidates over the years, which in Montana can be very hard work indeed.
Patrick served on the Montana Career and Technical Education Board in the 1980’s and for many years was a member of the Montana Supreme Court’s Judicial Selection Commission. Patrick was a lifelong enthusiastic supporter of the Miles City Public Library and the Miles City Art Center. He was a superb and rather haughty cook who loved to produce gourmet meals for family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Daniel G. and Mary Ellen Kelly, and his brothers, Matthew and Joe. He is survived by his brother, Daniel and wife Mary Kelly of Des Moines, Iowa and their daughter, Brigid Kelly of Los Angeles, California, and sons, Daniel and Patrick of Des Moines, Iowa. He is also survived by his sister, Kathleen and husband George Luger of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and their daughter, Sarah (Ray) of San Francisco, California, son David (Annabell) of Edinburgh, Scotland, and son, Peter (Thais) of Walnut Creek, California. He is also survived by his former wife, Janet R. Kelly and by his cousins and their children in the Carr and Grady families.
A memorial gathering in Miles City will be held at a later date. Memorials may be made to the Patrick J. Kelly Scholarship Fund at 3900 Ingersoll Ave, Suite 300, Des Moines, IA 50312.