Obituary: Charles E. Kelly / McKeesporter, basketball official

May 21, 1941 - Dec. 10, 2013

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Charles Kelly was known for his unorthodox style of officiating basketball games. But for those who knew him, on and off the floor, it was just Charlie being Charlie.

"He was always fun to be around, and he just did it different," said Robert Kozlowski, secretary for Westmoreland County Basketball and a friend of Mr. Kelly for 30 years. "A lot of fun, always."

Mr. Kelly died Dec. 10 at UPMC McKeesport. He was 72.

Mr. Kelly was born in McKeesport in 1941, the son of the late Clyde C. Kelly, Sr. and Viola Kelly. He graduated from McKeesport High School.

He was a retired employee of the McKeesport Redevelopment Authority as well as a retired basketball official with Westmoreland County Basketball. He also served as a member of the community representative board of Fifth Avenue Commons.

He was affectionately known as "Bad Call," but not for the reason one may think.

"Charlie gave himself that nickname on his license plate," said Mr. Kozlowski. "I don't think anyone had anything bad to say about him as far as basketball is concerned."

Contrary to what appeared on his license plate, Mr. Kelly had a good reputation on the court.

"He was actually a pretty good basketball official," Mr. Kozlowski said. "He never looked like he was running, but he got to where he should be."

Mr. Kelly's work and qualities as an official extended beyond the game to those close to him. "Charlie was a good man and a team player," Mr. Kozlowski said. "He was always very loyal to me."

Mr. Kelly is survived by eight children: Vince Kelly of McKeesport, David Kelly of West Mifflin, Kimberly Kelly of Canonsburg, Troy Williams of Chicago, Lilly Kelly of Chicago, Karen Hill of Carmel, Ind., and Alma Burney and Lisa Collier of Atlanta.

In addition to his own children, Mr. Kelly helped raise Kimberly Rutledge and Leon Rutledge, both of Woodbridge, Va., as well as Vann Rutledge of McKeesport.

Jordan Greer: jgreer@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1621.


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