Swan Funeral Home

825 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT


David D. Kelley

November 1, 1943July 20, 2020

David Darryl Kelley of Madison, age 76, passed away on July 20th after a long illness with Alzheimer’s disease. He died at home surrounded by his loved ones. David was born on November 1, 1943, in Troy, New York. He was the son of Alva and Martha Kelley.

He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts where he lettered in three sports – football, lacrosse and wrestling. He met his wife Barbara there. Upon graduating in 1966 he stayed on as the freshman football coach for five years. He then spent three years coaching at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA before going in 1972 to Yale University as an assistant joining Coach Carm Cozza.

David was someone who truly made a difference, positively impacting hundreds of lives. He was a beloved mentor and father figure to more than thirty years of student athletes. His intense, competitive personality along with his principles, values and stalwart moral compass left a positive mark on all those he came in touch with.

Upon retiring from Yale in 1996 he started a new career in home building and built several homes in the area. After retiring from building he became an avid gardener and transformed his yard into a beautiful haven. He was a big part of building the Greenway Trail at Hammonasset State Park. During their life together David and his wife enjoyed travelling. When home he loved watching sports on TV, especially football, both college and pro, and the UCONN Women’s basketball team.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Barbara; daughter Beth Levis and son-in-law Michael Levis of Madison and their four children Will, Kelley, Jillian, and Claire; son David John Kelley and his wife Catherine Kelley of San Francisco and their three children Mick, Gabriella and Pilar; his sister Sandra Compisi of Chicago and his brother Timothy Kelley of Rochester; brothers-in-law Frank Esielionis, David Esielionis, Steve Esielionis and Michael Esielionis and their wives; and many nieces and nephews.

His core values of integrity, perseverance, giving back and living life by “The Golden Rule” will carry on as his legacy through his remaining family members.

There will be a small family service at their home and as soon as Covid-19 is over a gathering to celebrate his life. He lived his life full of joy and love for family and friends; and he endured his illness with courage and grace. He will be deeply missed by so many. Dave Kelley was a good man who truly made a difference!

We request that any donations in David’s name be given to CT Hospice or the Strong House in Madison.


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


David D. Kelley

have a memory or condolence to add?

Michael Donofrio

August 2, 2020

Dave Kelly was a great man.
He always was respectful and kind to me.
We will miss him dearly , and I’m thankful to have known him.
Mike Donofrio

Rick Fehling

July 27, 2020

Dave was a tornado of demands that made all those on Yale’s defensive line better and better. Beyond that, he was an inspiration for the entire team.
I would need two pages (or more) to describe how much Dave meant to me and my teammates, although I was only blessed with having him as a coach my senior year. I will not trouble this venue with my endless accolades for Dave. I will say, as Dave told my Dad and me after a particularly gut wrenching loss in Hanover, you cannot appreciate the grandeur of the mountains unless you’ve experience the depths of the valley.
God bless you Dave. God bless and keep the Kelley family and friends.
Rick Fehling - Class of 1974

Thomas Doyle

July 27, 2020

Dear Barbara and family,

I am saddened to learn of the passing of Coach Kelley. His first year coaching at Yale coincided with my first year on the varsity (1972). Although I played on the offense, Coach Dave inspired all of us, because of his enthusiasm, passion, and intensity for the game. He helped scores of Yale football players be better athletes and men, and for that we are all grateful. May your many fond memories of Coach help comfort you as you grieve his loss.

In deepest sympathy,
Tom Doyle ‘75

Robert Morton

July 27, 2020


We will all miss Coach Dave Kelley. He was tough, but always had a thoughtful word for everyone on the team. There have been many gracious email tributes from his early teams: a testament to how he was regarded by his players.
We always enjoyed taking in a game with Brian and meeting with you after at Ski's tailgate. The sadness of the manner and timing of their passing this year is tempered by the fond memories of the joy that their combination brought to any event.
Our teammates will truly miss him.
Best wishes to you and your family during this trying time,
Bob Morton '76

Matt Rigney

July 27, 2020

My first job, with my brother Brian, was with Dave Kelley and the Plunkett Brothers in Guilford, CT. Our first day on the job we dug post holes, pretty much all day. The next day we moved tons and tons of building lumber. Dave was a driver and taught my brother and I a lot about hard work. I remember him as a kind man, and a large presence both physically and in his personality. My condolences to the Kelley family, and especially to my former classmate Beth.

Carol Monty

July 26, 2020

I think back when you and I would come home after selling jewelry at craft fairs and David would greet us with a drink , steak and mushrooms and lots of laughs. Fond memories. Thinking of you and family Carol And Phil Monty


July 26, 2020

I knew David Kelley as a student in Hamilton Central High, Hamilton, NY. He was always a "Breathe of Fresh Air" in the classroom or on the athletic field. He played football and was a wrestler so he was never on my basketball team. However, he attended every game and loved to chat with me about the strategies of the game. He was a spirited and joyful student. I was a better person by knowing him.
Larry Ksanznak former Varsity Basketball Coach Hamilton, NY

steven Filippone

July 26, 2020

Coach Kelly was an early inspiration for me and later became a friend and mentor. He was always a decent and honorable man who put the needs of others before his own. He had a powerful presence and always was kind and generous. We will all miss him. I am sure that he is resting in peace with coach Cozza and a few other notables who have been waiting for his return to paradise.

Ron Whipple

July 25, 2020

Dear Barb and family,

We are saddened to hear of Dave’s passing. Please accept Ellen’s and my sincere condolences.
As a hometown (Hamilton, NY) and high school friend who played on High School football and baseball teams with Dave in the 60’s, I remember an outstanding athlete and person in all respects. After high school, many of us trekked to UMass a few times to watch him play. He was a larger than life leader both on and off the field and a guy that generated a winning attitude and confidence in anything he participated.
Very sorry for his passing. I’m sure he and Pete Totten are now reminiscing.
Ron and Ellen Whipple

Patrick Barber

July 24, 2020

Dave was a kind and selfless man. He was always coaching even after his coaching career was over. We’ve known Dave and Barb since we moved to Madison 15 years ago, but I’ll never forget all the time he spent helping my son Joe with his Eagle Scout project; it was invaluable.

Our family’s prayers are with Barb, the kids and the grand kids.


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