Joseph Leonard Kelly Jr.

September 22, 1932April 26, 2021

Joseph Leonard Kelly, Jr. died April 26, 2021. He was 88. Joe was born Sept. 22, 1932 in Canton, Ohio. In 1937, the family moved to Houston. Joe attended St. Mary’s parochial school, and graduated salutatorian from St. Thomas High School in 1950. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Rice. While at Rice, he followed the strong advice of his sister, Dorothy (Kelly) McGee, and began to date Mary Miller. She was the love of his life. In 1955, they married at St. Anne’s Catholic Church and together raised four children. Following military service in the Army upon graduation, Joe spent 36 years at Hughes Tool Company, mostly in Houston. The family lived in Dallas for 5 years during the 1960’s, where Joe served as Chief Engineer of a Hughes-affiliate. Upon the family’s return to Houston in 1969, Joe oversaw the Research Department at Hughes and he holds 14 patents related to drilling and mining equipment. After retiring from Hughes, he returned to Rice University as an instructor in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Joe was an engineer’s engineer. He loved to tinker. He could fix anything, including a strong drink. He loved golf as well, spending countless hours on the course with family & friends in pursuit of the elusive single digit handicap. From 1962 through the mid-‘70s he was a dedicated youth baseball coach and commissioner. Joe and Mary were among the early members of St. John Vianney Catholic Church. He was a long-time instructor and program director of religious education, plus a ready volunteer in any area that needed support. Joe and Mary loved their Rice roots, and their many friends from their old “Rice Bridge Club,” which endured for 50 years. But what Joe loved most was spending time with his beloved Mary, whether enjoying time on the golf course, morning coffee, evening cocktails, bridge with friends, or any other activity they did together. Joe is preceded in death by his wife, Mary Miller Kelly, and oldest son, Joseph Kelly, III; his parents, Joseph L. and Dorothy G. Kelly; sister and brother-in-law, Dorothy Kelly McGee and Hugh E. McGee; and brother, James A. Kelly, all of Houston. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Carol and Rick Archer of San Antonio, their five children and eight grandchildren; daughter- in-law, Susan Kelly, her two children and two grandchildren; son and daughter-in-law, Mike and Beth Kelly of Houston, and their four children; son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Dolores Kelly of Irving, and their three children; sister-in-law, Carmi Kelly Sullivan of Houston; sister-in law, Carolyn Miller of Georgetown; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Marno and Bill Sutton of Little Rock; as well as 15 nieces and nephews. The family would like to extend their appreciation and heart-felt thank you to the staffs at Incarnate Word Village, Carol Ann’s Home and Four Seasons Hospice for the care and support they provided Joe over the past several years in San Antonio.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in Joe’s memory to the Charity Guild of Catholic Women at 1203 Lovett Blvd, Houston, TX 77006, or to the charity of your


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Joseph Leonard Kelly Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Martin Hajovsky

May 5, 2021

A lovely obituary of a great guy. We’re proud to have known him. All the love to all of y’all.

Theresa Gregory and Marty Hajovsky