Thursday, October 22, 2009

ECTC's Creation Assisted By Roman Catholic Church Assett John D. Kelly

ECTC’s creation assisted by John D. Kelly – graduate of Jesuit Canisius College in New York, civilian employee in intelligence for the Army Security Agency for 26 years, retiring in 1974, who in 1983 was ordained a deacon and hence served at St. Anthoney’s Roman Catholic Church in Brookland, D.C.


Earlier, when local and federal agencies made plans to run an expressway through Brookland, Mr. Kelly joined Sam Abbott, Thomas and Angela Rooney and others in forming the Emergency Committee on the Transportation Crisis, said his son Peter T. Kelly of Aspen, Colo. The committee "held protests at the Three Sisters Bridge site, at various blocks around our neighborhood which the government had seized by eminent domain, and at congressional hearings and city council meetings," his son said.

It was "ultimately successful in having the planned I-95 expansion canceled and the Metro rail system built." John Kelly was quoted in a 1978 Washington Post article about residents of Brookland who fought the plans for the North Central Freeway and advocated the Brookland-Catholic University Metro station. "Our answer has been yes to urban transit, no to highway," Mr. Kelly said. "The subway is a welcome addition to the community. We're not interested in high-density development here. We're concerned about preserving and refining the quality of life that exists."

In the 1960s, Mr. Kelly also was active in the strike against the D.C. Transit System, the precursor company to Metro that was privately owned by businessman O. Roy Chalk. "I can remember the 'Erase Chalk' posters around the house and my dad driving around D.C. in our station wagon giving free rides to people who were participating in the strike," his son said.

John Kelly was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, and grew up in Batavia, N.Y. He served in the Army during the Korean War. He received a bachelor's degree from Canisius College in New York and did graduate work in literature at Catholic University. He moved to Washington in 1948 and settled in Brookland. After a close friend died of cancer in the late 1970s, Mr. Kelly became interested in the hospice care concept that was growing in the Washington area. He began a program with hospice-type volunteers at Providence Hospital in Northeast Washington.

In 1980, he began studying for the Permanent Diaconate Program of the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. He was ordained a deacon in 1983 and served at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Brookland.

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