Kelly, Richard Jr.
Richard Kelly Jr., Lad.11STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Richard John Kelly Jr., 50, of Graniteville, is among the firefighters from Ladder 11, Manhattan, who failed to return home after responding to an alarm at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. Three others missing from Ladder 11 — Edward “Eddie” Day Jr., Michael Cammarata and Lt. Michael Quilty — also lived on Staten Island. Having just celebrated his 24th year with the city Fire Department, Mr. Kelly was the senior member of Ladder 11. “Receiving his 20-year ring from the officers and members of Engine 28 & Ladder 11 was one of the proudest moments of his life,” said his wife, the former Carolyn Voto. Fun-loving, carefree, gentle and kind, his free spirit was always on display, particularly when he played the “boom bah” — an odd musical contraption that resembles a pogo stick with cymbals, a cow bell and various other percussive instruments attached. He played the boom bah at firehouse functions, weddings, dances and bar mitzvahs. “When we went out he would always throw it in the back of the car,” said Mrs. Kelly. Born in Stapleton, Mr. Kelly moved to Port Richmond as a child. He and his wife settled in Graniteville in 1970. A graduate of McKee High School, he earned a bachelor of science degree in fire sciences from Jersey City State College in 1982. Mr. Kelly worked as a bond clerk with the New York Stock Exchange prior to joining the Naval Reserve in 1970. An electronics technician, he traveled throughout the Mediterranean aboard the USS Great Sitkin from 1970 to 1972. Upon his discharge from the Navy, he returned to the New York Stock Exchange, working as a bond clerk until 1977, when he joined the New York City Fire Department. He began his career at Engine 10 in Lower Manhattan. In 1979, he was transferred to Ladder 11 in the East Village, where he spent the next 23 years. In his time off, Mr. Kelly enjoyed listening to music. He collected hundreds of CDs that included all types of music. And he rarely missed an opportunity to play the boom bah, even if it meant accompanying a jukebox or a band in a local bar. “Music was his passion,” said Mrs. Kelly. He also loved fresh water fishing, spending many hours with his son, Michael, and his nephews at Peck’s Pond, Lord’s Valley, Pa. He and his wife bought a vacation home in the area last year, and he had spoke of retiring there. “Ricky enjoyed life more than anyone I ever knew,” said his wife. “His goals were not grand, but rather pure and simple. All he asked for was to wake up each day and enjoy it to the max.” His antics included marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parades on Staten Island and in Manhattan sporting a pair of fake “Billy Bob teeth,” which made people on the sidelines laugh. “He always made everyone feel comfortable and loved,” said Mrs. Kelly. “Whether you were a commissioner, the president, a loved one or a homeless person on the street, it didn’t matter to Ricky. He would treat you with the same kindness and dignity. Ricky would always say that we could have fun in a paper bag.”