John Francis Kelly Jr.

August 11, 1946March 11, 2019

John Francis Kelly was born on August 11, 1946 and passed away on March 11, 2019.


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John Francis Kelly Jr.

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Deborah Holle

March 21, 2019

I don’t remember exactly where and when I met John, but it was at some public meeting in Austin in the fall of 1991 where they were discussing the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan, later know as the BCP, and the establishment of the Preserve System and the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. John introduced himself to me after the meeting as being a member of Travis Audubon Society. I was glad to meet a friendly person at the meeting. John was also one of the few people who truly understood what a National Wildlife Refuge is and how closely they worked with their local Audubon groups. Later John told me he was retired from the US Air Force and had visited many refuges and been a member of several Audubon Societies. John was an incredible birder and one of the most intelligent men I ever met. He was also one of the most shy and quiet men I ever met. But that didn’t stop him from being a friend of the Refuge and a friend to me. John donated at least 10,000 hours to the Refuge as a Volunteer. The best gift that John gave was the close and enduring relationship between Balcones Canyonlands NWR and Travis Audubon Society and what they can do together for the wildlife and natural resources of the Texas Hill Country. The following picture is of John at a Refuge and Friends of Balcones event at the Flying X.

Bryan Hale

March 20, 2019

I served with John on the boards of Travis Audubon, Audubon Council of Texas and Audubon Foundation of Texas. I always greatly respected his input and advice. John was a great birder and had a very positive impact on Central Texas through his conservation efforts. I have always John to be a friend and colleague. What a loss!!

Joe Halton

March 19, 2019

John was responsible for sparking my interest in more serious birding. I participated in many counts with John during the 1990's. I've posted a tribute and memories on my website at

Bob Warneke

March 18, 2019

I've only learned this news after coming back from a birding trip in Mexico that John would have really enjoyed. I served with John for many years on the board of the Travis Audubon Society, and he was always the voice of reason - which is why he was often looked to for the last word on a tough issue.

He was a wonderful man, and my friend.

Coco Brennan

March 15, 2019

Deepest condolences to John's family. He is the one who got me started as a "serious" birder many years ago when we did Christmas Bird Counts at Balcones Canyonlands together. He taught me more about birds in those counts than I had ever learned. I'm so very sad we've lost him.

Bonnie Tull

March 14, 2019

We remember John with fondness, as he took us on our first Christmas bird count. I had never before known a person who was so good at birding that when he stepped out of the car, he could start listing birds endlessly just from hearing them. He was inspiring, and we will miss him.