Writing life's next chapter
Everyone knows life has many chapters. For Mark Kelly ’59, a mechanical engineering graduate, chapter one has our protagonist growing up on a farm in northern Ohio during the Great Depression. Chapter two finds him on a Navy destroyer serving his country during the Korean War. Chapter three picks up at the University of Dayton; Kelly takes full advantage of college life where in his words he was a “dual major in engineering and having fun,” and where he met his future wife, a Flyerette named Donna DeVoe ’59.
Chapter four is a long one where Kelly marries, helps Donna raise four children and builds not one, but two, successful careers in engineering and in finance. That chapter ends when Kelly retires at the age of 70. And then the story takes an interesting turn.
“I joined a writer’s group at the local library and had no intention of writing a book until they suggested it,” Kelly said. “Back in college, Brother Stan Matthews, S.M., suggested that I write, but I was too busy with other endeavors.” (See chapters three and four.)
That brings us to the current chapter lasting nearly 15 years where Kelly became an author and by age 84 has published six books. “Brother Stan lived long enough to read my first two books, and he couldn’t have been more complimentary,” Kelly said.
Most of his books are biographical. Kelly recounts his adolescence and teenage years in The Urchins and The Barons. The Warriors covers his Navy adventures. The Mansion, The Dirty Double and Frank Street chronicle his years at UD where so much of what shaped his future would transpire.
With chapters left to write, what’s next? “At present I’m trying to find a producer to adapt my books for a television series,” Kelly said. In the meantime, Kelly and his Flyer sweetheart are home in Michigan as they savor the happy ending of a life well lived.