Ronald Joseph Kelly, 87 of Stephens City, VA passed away Monday, November 29, 2021, at Winchester Medical Center.
He led a rich, full, adventurous life that was made for a storybook. Ron was born in 1934 in Queens, NY to the late Michael and Helen Kelly. At 16, he joined the United States Marine Corps and served in the Korean War as a sniper where he was wounded in combat and awarded the Purple Heart Medal. He subsequently became an NYPD officer and was promoted to detective at the age of 22. He worked for the United Nations as a Security Training Officer and then joined the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Security (SY) as a Regional Security Officer where he served for 20 years. He was responsible for the safety and security of U.S. embassies, diplomatic personnel, and American citizens in multiple high threat countries across Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America. During this time, he also graduated from the U.S. Army War College with a degree in Strategic Military Studies and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Shippensburg University. He retired from the State Department in 1984 as Associate Director of Security, a senior executive service rank. He then joined IBM where he spent 4 years in Paris as Director of Security for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa before becoming the IBM Corporate Director of Security Worldwide, where he advised senior management through the horrific 9/11 attacks and prepared the company for future pandemics; he retired in 2007 to pursue screenwriting. Ron loved international affairs, history, dogs, car racing, and spending time with family in Virginia Horse Country and the West Virginia mountains. His latest passion was his newly born grandson, Michael, who he affectionately called Tiger. He was a loving and dedicated husband, father, and grandfather, who will be greatly missed by his family and friends. He woke up every morning with vigor, ambition, and purpose, eager to get going. Words cannot do this great man’s life justice.
Ron married Maria Linares on February 28, 1980, in Arlington, VA. He is survived by his wife, Maria; son, Michael John Kelly (Marzia Borsoi-Kelly); grandson, Michael Antonio Kelly and sisters, Marian O’Connor and Janet Lammers (Jerry).
Ron is preceded in death by his parents, daughter, Michelle D. Kelly; sisters, Helen Hinn and Barbara Kelly; brothers, Stephen, Michael, and Garrett Kelly.
He was a member of St. Bridget’s of Ireland Catholic Church in Berryville, VA.
A visitation will be held Monday, December 6, 2021, from 4 pm to 6 pm at Omps Funeral Home, Amherst Chapel in Winchester, VA. A Catholic Mass will take place on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, at 10 am at St. Bridget’s of Ireland Catholic Church in Berryville, VA. Interment will be at 2:00 pm at Columbia Gardens Cemetery, in Arlington, VA.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Ron’s memory may be made to: The Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675; The Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, 106 Island Farm Lane, Boyce, VA 22620; and the American Pit Bull Foundation, 10926 Quality Drive, PO Box 38558, Charlotte, NC, 28278.