Newport Irish Music Festival creator Thomas Nicholas Kelly III dies


Thursday August 19, 2021

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Thomas Nicholas Kelly III, 74, of Newport, RI, passed away suddenly on August 13, 2021. He was the beloved husband of Denise M. (Archambault) Kelly.

A longtime Newport resident, he was the son of the late Mary (Styles) and Thomas Kelly Jr.

Tom and Denise celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary on August 12. He had two sons of whom he was very proud, Thomas (Anna) Kelly of Sweden and Ian Kelly of Newport. The light of his life were his two grandchildren, Hannah and Ronan. He leaves behind his three siblings, Mary “Kitchie” (Ray) Chestnut, Roni (Tom) Mahoney and Bill “Honey” (Deb) Kelly.

Tom was a graduate of De La Salle Academy, class of 1965, and a member of their great basketball team. He owned and operated two clothing stores in Newport for many years. First he opened Mr. Kelly’s on Lower Thames St, then Mrs. Kelly’s in the Brick Market. He was instrumental in raising funds to bring the July 4th fireworks back to Newport. He served on the Newport Police Parade committee and helped bring Pop Warner back to the island. He started the 5th Ward AC Softball Team and was captain for over a decade. Tom was a proud member of the Old Order of Hibernians, Dennis E. Collins Division 1, Newport. He was named Hibernian of the Year in 1993. Tom was also a member of the Newport Irish Heritage Committee. He created the Newport Irish Music Festival and conducted it until he fell ill. He has brought many excellent Irish bands to perform in Newport. He never missed a St. Patrick’s Day parade and could always be spotted in his tailored green suit. His little piece of heaven was Gooseberry Beach where he was a life member. He could still be seen sitting on the deck reading a book or listening to the old people. Tommy loved parties and always planned a family reunion. Family was the most important thing to him. He leaves a large family comprising several nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews whom he greatly appreciated. He was a true 5th Irish goalkeeper.

Visiting hours will be Sunday August 22 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St, Newport.

A Christian funeral mass will be held on Monday August 23 at St. Augustine Church, Carroll Avenue, Newport at 10:00 am. St. Columba Burial Cemetery, 465 Brown’s Ln, Middletown.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Tom’s memory to the Hillside Charitable Organization, PO Box 594, Newport, RI 02840.


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