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Robert Emmett “Bob” Kelly, 78, of Los Alamos, New Mexico died peacefully on August 25, 2008, with family by his side.
Bob was born on November 26, 1929, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri to Robert Emmett Kelly Sr. and Gladys Faye Adams Kelly. On June 6, 1962, he married Sarah Grace Combs of Inverness, Mississippi.
As student body president, he graduated in 1947 from Central High School in Cape Girardeau. In 1950 he graduated with honors from Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) with degrees in chemistry, physics and math. Two years later he received his M.S. in engineering physics with a math minor at the University of Missouri (Rolla). In 1959 he was awarded his Ph.D in physics with meteorology as a minor at the University of Connecticut.
Bob’s work experience prior to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) where he taught for 30 years, included General Electric, Boeing, Savannah River Laboratory, American Optical Hanford Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, NASA and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. During his time at Ole Miss he consulted at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and for 15 months he performed research with the French Atomic Energy Commission in France. In 1988 he became a full time employee at LANL as a theoretical physicist.
Upon his retirement from LANL, Bob began consulting with Stolar Research Corporation in Raton where he thoroughly enjoyed his work.
Bob built his first radio when he was 8 years old and became an Amateur Radio Operator soon thereafter. He was active as a ham operator with the highest grade of license issued by the FCC.
Bob was a performance musician his entire life in various groups such as jazz combos, pit orchestras and big bands. Music was very much a part of his life and he even performed with the Los Alamos Big Band as recently as two weeks prior to his death.
In 1984 SEMO honored Bob with the Alumni Merit Award and in 1988 the University of Mississippi titled him professor emeritus.
Bob is survived by his wife, Sarah Grace of Los Alamos, his children, Katelyn Palo of Alberta, Canada, Frank Kelly and Tara Kelly Orr (Bill), both of Memphis, Tennessee, and his sister, Martha Kelly Mutschler of La Jolla, California, and his grandchildren, Phaedra and Colden Palo and Lydia and William Orr.
He was predeceased by his parents, Robert Emmett Kelly Sr. and Gladys Faye Adams Kelly, his brother-in-law, Ernie Mutschler and his infant granddaughter, Mary Orr.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, August 29, at 10:30 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, 715 Diamond Drive, Los Alamos, NM. A reception will follow. A private burial will be at a later date at the Santa Fe National Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Self Help Inc. in Los Alamos or to the charity of one’s choice.
Bob was very clear in knowing where he was going and although he was sad to leave his family but he was ready to go home.