Kelly, David P.

On Saturday, April 13, 2024, David Paul Kelly of Wilmington, Delaware passed away at the age of 82. He is survived by his son David T. Kelly, fiancé Bonita Frawley, younger brothers Joe and Tim Kelly, and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Born on September 30, 1941, Dave grew up in Chester, PA with strong connections to Atlantic City, NJ, where his mother and father were raised. He loved the shore and spent many summer weekends in Atlantic City riding waves with his son and family.

For 25 years David was like a stepdad and granddad for Bonita’s 3 children and grandchildren. He organized charter fishing trips with Bonnie’s son Marcus, he attended most of her granddaughter Kiana’s basketball games, and went to pancake breakfasts. He exclaimed that my daughter Marjorie had perfect pitch when she sang, and Dave loved my son Matt’s in-depth accounts of football and basketball games. Bonita and Dave got engaged 20 years ago and since then they went skiing in the winter and enjoyed beach trips in Cape May Point, and Atlantic City, NJ in the summer. The two traveled to Spain, France, and Ireland as well as US destinations like California and Florida. Dave liked attending the Annual Irish Breakfast for years with all of the family. He supported Bonita’s many art exhibits, went to guitar concerts, danced at the Grand Gala in Wilmington, and went biking along the Wilmington Riverfront. People remember him as a gentleman who helped out with driving them to airport in a snowstorm, fixing plumbing, bringing his guitar to gatherings and trying out restaurants all over the city. Bonita will miss his loving bouquets of flowers, thoughtfulness, his guitar music, his corny jokes and his just being a good man and partner.

Family and friends were extremely important to Dave. He maintained contact with family, no matter how distant, even travelled to Ireland for a global reunion in Ballycotton. He participated in reunions and organized activities for his classmates (the Bulldogs) from St. James Catholic School. In every corner of his home, he proudly displayed photos and memories - treasures from joyous times with family and friends.

David’s career in chemistry began in the U.S. Army, where he started as a hospital lab technician. His work in research toxicology branched beyond his extensive career at DuPont. As a member of the AIHA Emergency Response Planning Committee, he helped develop plans for chemical spills and other disasters. He also contributed to the National Academy of Sciences.

David was an avid skier. He and his Dewey Beach Ski Club travelled to the Swiss Alps, Utah, Colorado, Vermont, Canada, and spent many joyful weekends in Mount Pocono, PA.

A lifelong music lover and talented musician, David enjoyed playing guitar, singing, and going to concerts. For over 20 years, he could be found performing with his folk group, The Whirled Peas, at venues in the Wilmington area. He could fill a room with his deep voice, playing the blues and songs from the Everly Brothers and Richard Thompson. David instilled his passion for music in his son. Most times they were together, they would pick up their guitars and play their favorite Beatles songs. He attended all of his son’s concerts.

The viewing will be held Friday, April 19 from 1030-1130am at St. Helena’s Catholic Church, 602 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, DE 19809, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:30am. Interment will take place privately.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in David’s name to St. James Alumni Scholarship Fund, 1499 E. 9th St, Eddystone, PA 19022.

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