Well-wishers packed the Midway Community Hall on Saturday afternoon to bid reporter Pat Kelly farewell as he begins the next chapter in what has been a full life thus far.
Kelly is leaving the area he has called home for the past twenty-five years to return to Oregon, where he will care for his ailing mother.
After high school he had joined the U.S. Army and studied nursing. He witnessed the physical and mental injuries sustained by Vietnam veterans while stationed at the 1,000-bed Madigan General Hospital near Tacoma. This prompted him to cross the border into Canada in the early 1970s, at a time when many Americans were having serious daoubts as to the validity of their country’s involvement in the war. He never looked back.
Kelly eventually made his way to the Boundary in 1974, where he worked for the Pope & Talbot lumber mill in Midway for 30 years until it closed in 2007. Soon after, he joined the newspaper and quickly became one of the most recognized faces in the community, seen at almost every event in West Boundary. Kelly was famous for his monopod, carved from a hefty piece of lumber and fitted with a camera mount to help prevent shake when working in low light situations.
Publisher Chuck Bennett presented Kelly with a beautifully-constructed photo book, commemorating his years in the Boundary, and there was a steady flow of admirers to the podium to recount their experiences with him over the years and present him with parting gifts. It was clear that he would be greatly missed.
Snacks were provided by the Bored Room Bistro, McMynns donated the cake, and the Midway Community Association hosted the event.
Kelly did not count out a return to the area were his family situation to change, and has been invited by Bennett to contribute the occasional column from down south, and we will all be looking forward to that. All the best, Pat!