John F. Kelly, former clerk of the Baltimore City Circuit Court, died of a heart attack Thursday at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. The Gardenville resident was 85.
Born in Baltimore and raised on North Avenue, he attended the old St. Katharine of Siena Parochial School and was a 1941 Polytechnic Institute graduate. He served in the Navy during World War II.
After the war he joined the Baltimore City courts system and remained with it for 36 years and worked in what is now the Mitchell Courthouse in downtown Baltimore. A 1982 Evening Sun article said he received his start from the old 3rd District Civic Democratic Club headed by former Rep. Edward Garmatz.
In 1976, Mr. Kelly left his position in the Circuit Court to assume a court-appointed position of clerk of Circuit Court No. 2. He was elected its clerk in 1978. He held that position until 1982, when he was defeated by Saundra Banks. He retired in 1983.
"Many young attorneys and court employees viewed my uncle as a mentor and valuable legal resource," said his niece, Joyce Eierman of Parkville. "He was revered for his fairness, knowledge and devotion to the Maryland legal system.
He was a member of the St. Patrick's Catholic War Veterans.
A Mass was offered Monday at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, where he was a member.
Survivors include two sons, John J. Kelly and Thomas E. Kelly, both of Gardenville. His wife of more than 40 years, the former Audrey Miller, died in 1992.