Joseph F. Kelleher, Jr. ’58 (CAHNR)

Joseph F. Kelleher, Jr. of Southington, and formerly Stratford, Connecticut died peacefully in his sleep on October 22, 2022. He is survived by his three children and their spouses, Joanne C. Kelleher and Timothy P. Johnson of Southington, Connecticut, Barbara and Donald LaBonte of Brewster, Massachusetts and Joseph F. Kelleher III and Alison Davis of Somerville, Massachusetts; six grandchildren, Benjamin C. Johnson, Samuel K. Johnson, Troy Joseph (TJ) LaBonte and his wife Emily, Tyler LaBonte and his wife Marlin, Fletcher Kelleher and Violet Kelleher; and three great-grandchildren, Josh, Elizabeth and Layla LaBonte. He was predeceased by his former wife, Anne Kelleher Smith.

Joe was born in Bridgeport, CT on May 26, 1936 to Anna (Jaschinski) and Joseph Francis Kelleher. He grew up in Stratford, Monroe and Bridgeport, graduating from Bassick High School in 1954. His summers spent working on his Aunt Elizabeth’s farm in Framingham, MA led him to become an “aggie”, graduating with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Connecticut’s College of Agriculture in 1958. He then joined the U.S. Army where he served for three years at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Denver, CO.

He worked his entire professional career at Sikorsky Aircraft, participating in the Foreman’s Club and the Sikorsky Pistol Club, until he “volunteered” for early retirement in 1993.

Joe loved helping other people, especially his family. He was co-leader of his daughters’ Girl Scout troop in Stratford and then continued volunteering for decades at events run by the Girl Scout Housatonic Council and doing maintenance at Camp Iwakta. He was a Bunnell Bulldog Band Parent, helping to organize their first Cavalcade of Bands competition.

He had a passion for woodcarving, making ornaments for his family and friends every Christmas and donating the results of his craft for fundraisers. He travelled across New England to attend meetings of the Connecticut Woodcarvers Association and the Green Mountain Wood Carvers where he could “make chips” with fellow carvers. Joe never attended a band concert he didn’t like and loved parades, marching band competitions and dancing the polka.