Joseph V Kelly

Joseph V Kelly

Death 11 Feb 1971 (aged 45–46)
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Burial Langhorne, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA
Plot Section: 8, Range: 3, Lot: 32, Grave: 3
Memorial ID 36810265 · View Source
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Officer Joseph V. Kelly
Philadelphia Police Department
End of Watch: Sunday, February 21, 1971

Biographical Info
Age: 45
Tour of Duty: 16 years; joined Feb. 7, 1955.
Badge Number: 4937
Unit of assignment: 5th District

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Sunday, February 21, 1971
Weapon Used: Handgun
Suspect Info: Sentenced to life in prison

Officer Joseph Kelly was shot to death February 21, 1971, in a gun battle with a man whom he caught trying to steal a car at 271 E. Paoli Avenue near Umbria Street.

Officer Joseph Kelly was found at 271 Paoli Avenue shot to death in his patrol car. Patrolman Joseph Kelly, 43, was found shot twice in the chest at approximately 2:50 a.m., Sunday in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. He was discovered by a neighborhood resident who said he had spotted the parked car earlier but had believed the officer was writing a parking ticket.

On May 31, 1973, while awaiting appeal in prison, the suspect and a second inmate, were responsible for the stabbing murders of Warden Patrick Curran and Deputy Warden Robert Fromhold, of the Philadelphia County Prison System.

On May 10, 1976, a new playground at Parker Ave. and Pechin St., Roxborough, was dedicated in Officer Kelly's name.

Officer Kelly had served with the agency for 16 years. He was survived by his wife and five daughters. He had been commended five times during his career for meritorious service. He began his career in the old 31st district, at 26th and York sts., and was transferred to the 5th in October, 1960. He served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War.

Widow, 5 daughters honor slain Roxborough cop
Philadelphia Daily News 215-854-5184

When 16-year-old Anna Marie Kelly went to Roxborough Memorial Hospital to see her father, a police officer, after he had been shot to death, all she could look at were his shoes. "His shoes always had holes in them because he could never afford new ones because he was always providing for us," Kelly said. "The whole time I couldn't look at his face; I just kept looking at his shoes," she said. Joseph V. Kelly, a 16-year veteran of the force, was shot twice in the chest on Feb. 21, 1971, while investigating a car being stolen on Paoli Avenue near Umbria Street in Roxborough. Kelly's killer was found two days later and is serving time for Kelly's murder and two others. "I just remember the knock at the door that day and my mother screaming," said his daughter, now Anna Marie Negler. "They didn't want to tell her that he died but she got it out of them," Negler said. His widow, Sarah, and his five daughters, Anna Marie, Eileen, Patricia, Sally Ann and Joann, gathered yesterday in the driveway where he was shot to memorialize his sacrifice with a hero- plaque-dedication ceremony. Robert Ballentine, financial secretary of the Fraternal Order of Police, called the six women "a legacy of his goodness." "Officer Joseph Kelly was a good patrol officer, he knew his sector, he knew the people who lived on his sector," Ballentine said. "At the time of this tragic event, we ranged in age from 6 to 16," said Kelly's daughter Eileen Barclay. "With so many years gone by, our memories are a little dulled, but not forgotten," she added. Negler said her father loved to cook and would make a layered vanilla-and-chocolate pudding for his daughters.
Negler also said that her father loved to sing Irish or country- western songs. One favorite Irish ballad was "The Black Velvet Band." "Even though he worked two jobs, he never missed our Irish- dance performances or our weekend trips to the Shore," Barclay said. "On his days off, he always made my mother relax. After all, raising five girls was not easy." Barclay said remembering her father's love has helped sustain her. "I just remember the love of us girls that he had. We were always his first priority." The hero-plaque program is a joint effort between the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 5 and attorney James Binns. Anyone interested in sponsoring a hero plaque should call Binns at 215-275-3000. *

Go to his memorial and leave a message


1. The Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc.

2. Dallas Morning News, February 22, 1970, pg. A-2.

3. Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

Family Members


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  • Created by: Researcher
  • Added: 6 May 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 36810265
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Joseph V Kelly (1925–11 Feb 1971), Find A Grave Memorial no. 36810265, citing Our Lady Of Grace Cemetery, Langhorne, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Researcher (contributor 46902961) .