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Published: Sunday, 3/7/2010

Dana engineer shared his knowledge at UT

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

ERIE - Karl Kelly, 84, who demonstrated his engineering know-how on the factory floor and at the University of Toledo, died yesterday at Hospice of Northwest Ohio, South Detroit Avenue.

He had emphysema and congestive heart failure.

Mr. Kelly, of Erie, retired in 1978 from what is now Dana Holding Corp. after more than 30 years. He was a machine repair supervisor at Dana's Spicer division on Bennett Road.

"Engineering suited him because he could analyze a situation and find a solution," his son Christopher said. "Dealing with heavy machinery, he found the challenge and enjoyed finding the solution."

Machinery breakdowns kept Spicer workers from doing their jobs and wasted money for Dana. But they also could set back the firms for which Spicer built transmission parts.

"He put his heart and soul into this whole thing and kept his crew and those machines running at all times," his son said.

After he retired, UT hired him as a lab instructor in mechanical engineering.

"There were [former students] who said my dad taught them more than they learned in the classroom," his son said. "He knew it from actual experience.

"He loved working with the students, helping them not only correct the potential flaws in projects they were working on, but turning around and helping them build the pieces."

He retired from UT in 1989.

Born May 23, 1925, in Cleveland, he grew up in Toledo. After early graduation from Scott High School, he joined the Navy and was stationed in the South Pacific for four years. He was proud to have served his country, his son said, but when he spoke of his time in World War II, he made clear war is "a very serious, awful experience for any young person to go through."

His No. 1 goal was to move back to Toledo, "because he loved it," his son said. "He always told us there wasn't any reason to go anywhere else. If you couldn't find it in Toledo, you didn't need it. He seems to have instilled that in his grandson" - Joe McNamara, a member of Toledo City Council.

Mr. Kelly became a father figure for his grandson, who was 6 when his father, Dan McNamara, the Lucas County auditor, was killed in 1983. Father and son were in a car together when a tire came off another vehicle and flew through their windshield.

"Dad smoked from the time he got on board ship until Dan was killed," his son the Rev. Randy Kelly said. "He put down the cigarettes so he could be there for Joe. And he always has been."

Mr. Kelly built his family's home in Erie. He and his wife bought old houses and refurbished and rented them.

He was a member of St. John the Baptist Church in Point Place and golfed in its league. "He had some funny stories to tell and didn't take no guff from anyone, but he was pretty soft at heart," said Ed Gryczewski, a St. John deacon. "He was a good friend and a golf buddy."

Surviving are his wife, MaryJane, whom he married May 17, 1947, sons, the Rev. Randy and Christopher Kelly, daughter, Jill Kelly, brother, James Kelly, and a grandson.

Services will be at 7 p.m. tomorrow in St. John the Baptist Church, where the body will be after 2 p.m. Arrangements are by the David R. Jasin-Hoening Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to the Karl and MaryJane Kelly Scholarship Fund, which benefits St. John the Baptist's elementary school, in care of the Comerica Charitable Trust in Ann Arbor.

Contact Mark Zaborney at:

mzaborney@theblade.com

or 419-724-6182.



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