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Remembering boy wonder, Tony Kelly

Published:Tuesday | January 13, 2015 | 1:00 AMRichard Mitchell

Hundreds gathered at the Sts Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in St Andrew to officially say goodbye to shooting legend and entrepreneur Anthony George Kelly.

Peter McConnell, a long-time friend of Kelly's, gave the tribute at the thanksgiving service.

Described as fiercely competitive, yet generous, nit-picking and totally honest, Kelly was born in 1925 and lost his battle with illness on December 19, 2014.

During his early years, Kelly attended Jamaica College, after which he enlisted in the army with the intention to fight in the Second World War. After life in the army, Kelly began a long and successful tenure at Desnoes & Geddes (D&G), where he led quality control for Red Stripe. Kelly later became known as master brewer at D&G.

"There is no doubt that his long stay there greatly contributed to the huge and explosive growth of D&G as one of the foremost manufacturing companies in Jamaica in the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s," McConnell said while highlighting some of Kelly's achievements at the company.

After retiring from D&G, Kelly went on to develop Jamaica's first bottled water company, Peak Bottling Company, the developers of Catherine's Peak.

Though he may be best known in the shooting fraternity as the founder of the Jamaica Skeet Club, Kelly was making headlines since age 12.

 

WORLD RECORD HOLDER

 

During the tribute, McConnell referenced a headline from the May 16, 1938 issue of The Gleaner, which gave Kelly his first nickname, 'Boy Wonder'. The article highlighted Kelly's high-school performance in skeet shooting. Later in life, Kelly became holder of the world record in the 410 two-man senior event at the 1990 World Championships in the USA. The record has stood for 20 years.

While describing Kelly's prowess in shooting, McConnell said, "I can say, without fear of contradiction, that Tony Kelly was the finest skeet shooter Jamaica has ever produced."

Kelly was the founder of other local clubs, including the Jamaica Flying Club, which he founded in partnership with Carl Barnett and John Harrison.

Those in attendance at the service included former Prime Minister Bruce Golding and Member of Parliament Daryl Vaz. William Mahfood, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, and his predecessor, Chris Zacca, were some familiar faces in the business communality that came out to pay their last respects to Kelly.

richard.mitchell@gleanerjm.com