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Memorial-Kelley, Thomas C.
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Thomas C. Kelley
1902 – April 18, 1961  


     By Edward L. Foster, President of the Montgomery County Bar Association: Once again the Bench and Bar meet to honor certain members of the Bar that have departed since the last term of Court, Thomas Kelley, James B. Davis and Hanserd K. Presley. On behalf of the Bar Association, I wish to present a Motion in honor of Mr. Thomas C. Kelley, and would would like to present Mr. Leo Bender. 

     By Mr. Leo Bender: To the Honorable, the Judges of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County: The Bar Association of Montgomery County respectfully offers the following memorial resolution on the death of Thomas Chadwick Kelley, Esq. 

     Thomas Chadwick Kelley, who was a member of the Bar of the State of Maryland since 1937, died on April 18, 1961. 

     He was born in Washington, D. C., in 1902, but resided a large part of his life at Pleasant Hills Farm near Darnestown in Montgomery County. This farm was operated as a dairy until recently. 

     He was a graduate of St. Albans’ School and later went on to the University of Maryland, where he obtained a degree in Agriculture in 1926. The yearbook of the University contains the statement that he had “made for himself an unforgettable place in Campus history.” 

     He was elected Judge of the Orphans Court and served between 1934 and 1938 and he had the distinction of being the first lawyer to serve on that Court, having graduated in Law from Southeastern University in Washington, D. C., in 1936. He also served as Assistant Attorney to the County Commissioners from 1946 to 1948. He took a very active part in the campaign to set up a charter form of Government for the County, and was elected to serve as one of the first County Councilmen after the charter was adopted. He had the honor of being President pro-tem of that County Council from 1948 to 1950. 

     Besides being active in farming, his business interests included the position of Trust Officer of the Montgomery County National Bank for some period, and for a time served as Counsel to that Bank. 

     In his professional pursuits Mr. Kelley was along time member and officer of the Bar Association of Montgomery County, and served as its President in the year 1952. He also held membership in the Maryland State Bar Association. The partnership of Kelley and Smith was formed in June 1951 when J. Hodge Smith, Esq., became associated with Mr. Kelley, and this association continued up to the time of Mr. Kelley’s death. 

     In his Civic and Community relationships Thomas C. Kelley held membership in the Rotary Club of Rockville for many years, holding several offices in the club, incuding that of President, in the eyar 1944-45. He was appointed to the Upper Montgomery County Planning Commission and served as its Chairman, beginning December 1950. This Commission produced valuable studies of land uses and a plan of zoning for the farming area of the County. He directed one or more Christmas Seal Sale Campaigns for the Montgomery County TB Association. For a number of years he was Treasurer of the Social Service League of Montgomery County, the predecessor of the present Family Service Association. 

     He served as Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the Darnestown and Neelsville Presbyterian Churches, for many years, and took an active part in the work of rebuilding the Darnestown Church. The Negro inhabitants of the Darnestown area found a staunch friend and sympathetic adviser in Mr. Kelley, in the matter of their personal, church, and business problems. 

     He built the office building at 22 South Perry Street in Rockville in the year 1938 and enlarged it from time to time and after a disastrous fire in December 1959, he worked out plans for rebuilding, but did not live to see the completion of the building. 

     He married Catherine E. Merrill in June 1927, and his immediate survivors are his widow, Mrs. Catherine M. Kelley, two sons, John Thomas Kelley III, and Paul Merrill Kelley, and a daughter, Elizabeth Louise Kelley, all of whome claim Montgomery County as their place of residence. 

     Thomas Chadwick Kelley was long recognized by his fellow members of the Bar as a diligent and capable lawyer, accustomed to spend many hours of the week in office conferences, and also experienced in trial work. Although at all times working under handicaps which would have defeated a less courageous man, he was never heard to complain, and as a result of his friendly nature and demonstrated legal ability he developed and maintained many fine friendships among the Bench and Bar of the State of Maryland. 

     His personal integrity, his devotion to his family, his law career and his church, bequeath to us an outstanding example of goodness and service to his fellow man which will live long in the hearts and minds of all who had the privilege of being associated or acquainted with him. 

     Respectfully submitted, this second day of October, 1961, by The Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland, Edward L. Foster, President. 

     I would like to move that a copy of this Resolution be spread upon the Minutes of the Court and a copy of it be read to his family.  

     By Honorable Thomas M. Anderson, Judge of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland: Are there any members of the Bar who would like to say a few words? 

     By Mr. J. Hodge Smith: If it please the Court, I have first-hand knowledge of the accomplishmetns and contributions to his community by Mr. Kelley. I would like the Court’s indulgence to inject a personal note into these proceedings. 

     Thomas Kelley and I formed a partnership for the practice of law in 1951 and, but for his untimely death, we would have celebrated our tenth anniversary June 1st of this year. It was true partnership, in every sense that that word implies. We had daily contact for the ten year period, both in our professional work and socially, and there was never any contention of any misunderstanding. Thomas, with his ready wit, and personal charm and his wisdom benefitted all who knew him. I feel that I was singularly honored in having a real friendship with a great man, Thomas Kelley.

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