Columbus, OH — Harold Kelly’s eye was on Jesus as he won the greatest race of his life and crossed the finish line into the arms of his Heavenly Father on Oct. 19, 2020.
He was born to Harry and Mary Kelly on May 3, 1935, in Wampum, Pa. He married Susan Mason on Oct. 8, 1957. They were blessed with 57 years together until she preceded him in death on Nov. 27, 2014. Together they loved and adored and are survived by two daughters, Linda (Tom) Moyer and Deborah (Jeff) Tillia; four grandchildren, Scott (Kim) Moyer, Sean (Brianna) Moyer, Brianne (Randy) Schmidt, and Alan Wroblewski; and three great-granddaughters, Kaylee Moyer, Kenzie Moyer, and Lucy Schmidt. Mr. Kelly is also survived by a brother-in-law, Paul “Art” Wells; many nieces and nephews; as well as his extended family, Hank and Paula Kuchinsky, Josie Wingert, and Bill Owens. He was preceded in death by his parents; both of his sisters; several sister- and brother-in-laws; and two nephews. He also leaves behind many people whom he was honored to call friends.
Mr. Kelly always had a passion for horses, having been raised on a farm in Western Pennsylvania. He began his professional driving career in 1951, with his first drive coming at the age of 16 on a small track in Painesville, Ohio. He raced all over at tracks in the Western Pennsylvania and Ohio areas, before moving to New Jersey in 1955. During his more than 60-year career as both a driver and trainer, he had the privilege to work with many fine horsemen, including Stanley Dancer and Joe Holloway to name a few.
He had the opportunity to drive many fine horses throughout his career, including his all-time favorite, State Time. The highlight of his career came in 1988, winning the Sweetheart Pace with Concertina. He officially hung up his reins in 2014.
Among many achievements, he was inducted into the Jersey Shore Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.
Visitation will be Thursday (Oct. 22) from 3-7 p.m. at the Higgins Memorial Home, 20 Center St., Freehold. A private graveside service will be Friday (Oct. 23) in Chambersburg, Pa.
In lieu of flowers, his family would be honored for memorial contributions to be made in his memory to the Christian Harness Horsemen’s Association, Attn: Chaplain Lee Alphen, 157 North Main St., Salem, NH 03079.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2Timothy 4:7).