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Memorial Tributes, Volume 11
ment to join the Grumman support team coping with the aftermath of the explosion in the Apollo Service Module during the Apollo 13 mission. The Lunar Module became a cold but successful “lifeboat,” and the astronauts were saved. In the post-Apollo, post-Sloan days, Kelly made a major contribution to Grumman’s bid for the Space Shuttle contract.
Kelly was appointed to the Board of Directors of the New York State Science and Technology Foundation by Governor Hugh Carey in 1979. The organization helped state businesses and universities with useful encouragement for notable start up projects, and Tom served on the board until he retired.
He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1991. He received the NASA Certificate of Appreciation, 1969, and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, 1973. In 1972 he was awarded the AIAA Spacecraft Design Award and the Cornell Engineering Award.
He was a member of the following societies: American Astronautical Society (AAS); American Institute of Aeronautics (AIAA) (Board of Directors member 1974–1980); American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME); Cornell Society of Engineers; and Columbia Engineering Council.
Tom Kelly was a multi-talented musician. He had a wonderful baritone singing voice and sang with the Huntington Choral Society and then with the North Fork Chorale when the family moved to Cutchogue.
Even though he never really gained weight as he became older Tom decided he needed something else to keep him healthy. That was running. He was usually up at 5:30 a.m. to run before work, and he felt it cleared his head and made him feel good. He ran, when he was home, away, or even on vacation and enjoyed every minute of it. It was precious time for him.
Tom Kelly is survived by his wife and life partner, Joan Tantum Kelly, and two generations of younger Kellys. His sons are David, Thomas Jr., Edward, Christopher, and Peter and his daughter, Jennifer, the only one who has pursued a career in engineering so far. His 11 grandchildren are Shannon, Rachel, Kevin, Christopher, Cuchulain, Finn, Cormac, Oonagh, Savanna (all Kellys), and Ryan and Katchen Lachmayr.