Fr. Kelly dies


Father Daniel Kelly, a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport, died Jan. 23 in Sarasota, Fla. He was 75.

A native of Sigourney, Fr. Kelly attended schools there. He graduated from St. Ambrose College in Davenport and completed his theology studies at Mt. St. Bernard in Dubuque.

On June 6, 1959, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Ralph Hayes at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport.

From 1959-70 Fr. Kelly served as an assistant at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He then served as temporary administrator at St. Bridget in Nolan Settlement and St. Bernadette in West Branch in 1970. From 1970-82 he was pastor at Immaculate Conception in Petersville and pastor at St. Anne in Welton from 1976-78. His final parish assignment before retirement was pastor at St. Mary in Wilton from 1982-83.


Visitation was schedule for Jan. 28. Fr. Kelly’s funeral is scheduled to take place today, Jan. 29, at St. Martha Catholic Church in Sarasota. He will be buried at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Davenport at noon on Jan. 31.

Tribute to Fr. Kelly

By Msgr. Francis C. Henricksen

The news of Father Daniel Kelly’s death Jan. 23 came to us as a surprise. But on the other hand, there was no surprise. Fr. Kelly had been in poor health for some years.

Twenty-five years ago he took early retirement and moved to Sarasota, Fla., to climate conditions more amicable to his health. He was 50 years old at that time. He died at the age of 75.

This year would have marked the 50th anniversary of his ordination on June 6. Fr. Jerry, as he was better known by his contemporaries, was ordained by the late Bishop Ralph Hayes. He was first assigned as assistant at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport where he also served the bishop as his master of ceremonies for all episcopal celebrations.

Among his pastoral assignments, Fr. Jerry’s longest tenure was at Immaculate Conception Parish in Petersville in Clinton County.

Though gone from the diocese these past 25 years, he will not be forgotten by those whose lives he touched in his ministry. 

It is not our purpose to build monuments of stone by which we are remembered. We leave footprints in sand that soon wear away. He served faithfully as a priest of God according to the giftedness of his Creator.

Fr. Jerry’s legacy for us all, but especially his brother priests, is a reminder that we are all called simply to serve our God by doing the very best we can.

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