David's father Henry was the eldest of nine children to Waikato pioneers Thomas (Tom) Henry (1865-1942) and Elizabeth Kelly (née Crawford) (c1863-1941). Thomas was born in County Galway, Ireland whilst Elizabeth was born in Kingscourt, County Cavan, Ireland. Elizabeth arrived in New Zealand on board the Baron Aberdare in 1875 along with her parents and siblings. Thomas arrived on board the Glenlora in 1880. They married in Hamilton on 5 July 1884 (reg. 1884/1224). Thomas worked on both the Woodlands Estate in Hamilton and later the Matamata Estate. He was one of the original organisers and suppliers of the Cambridge Co-op Dairy Co Ltd which was incorporated on 17 July 1901. He was on the Leamington Town Board and served as a Cambridge Borough Councillor. In 1921 Thomas and Elizabeth purchased The Laurels boarding house in Duke Street West, Cambridge. They are both buried in Hautapu Cemetery.
David married Valerie Dawn Gordon in 1958. They had three children together.
David died in Tauranga, aged 75, on 14 June 2013.
His obituary appeared in the New Zealand Herald on 17 June 2013:
KELLY, David Alfred. Peacefully on June 14th 2013. Aged 75 years. Dearly loved husband of Valarie. Much loved father and father in law of Brian and Marie, Graeme and Ingrid and Joanne. Loved grandad to Wayne, Carla and Aaron; Vanessa, Daniel and Samantha; and Monique and Erika. Loved great grandad to his 7 great grandchildren. The service to celebrate David's life will be held at Tauranga Park 383 Pyes Pa Road Tauranga on Wednesday June 19th at 2pm followed by a private cremation. In lieu of flowers, donations to Alzheimer's Tauranga P O Box 15-553 Tauranga 3144 would be appreciated. Special thanks to the staff at Bob Owens Hospital for the love and care shown to David (New Zealand Herald, 17 June 2013)
The following eulogy was researched, written and delivered at David's funeral by celebrant Carol Rickard:
"Born in Opotiki into a family of 12 children on the 2nd April, 1938, David was raised in Te Puke. He is survived by 6 of his siblings; Ted, Len, Nola & Pam whom I believe are here with us today. But sadly Wally and Betty are unable to be here.
From a young age David did droving work whilst still at school and at the age of 10 years old, he had to leave the family home. He left with one suitcase, walked down the road and a family took him in and for them, he milked cows before and after school.
However David had a love of sport and his level of fitness meant he excelled at whatever sport he undertook. Athletics is a fine example; at the age of 13, without the benefit of the type of training given to youngsters nowadays, David could run the 100 yards in 13 seconds.
He enjoyed and participated keenly in rugby, wrestling and cricket. There was also a very cheeky side to David as the time when out on the town with some mates, one of the lads, who had passed out with too much good cheer, was put in a wheelbarrow which was neatly parked right outside the local police station.
David and Valerie met at a dance when they were 17 and at the age of 20, they married and set up home on a farm at Warea and over the next few years they moved to different farms in and around the Taranaki area.
Apart from the never ending farming duties, David became involved in herd-testing.
Then a complete change of lifestyle when they moved into urban Hawera and it was here David was shearing and wool and skin buying.
Then he started working for an Electrical Supplier before Managing a Hardware outlet and Farmers Co-op. David also offered his services on a volunteer basis, to the local Fire Brigade.
But the call of the land was too great and David and Valerie purchased a poultry farm in Hawera. They had some 9,000 laying hens and once again life was busy and very full on.
But this hard working couple were always looking for an opportunity, which they found at Marsden Point when they purchased their own dairy farm. During the time of getting established on the farm, David also undertook security work at the refinery.
He looked upon work as a pleasurable obligation and gave so much of himself to the betterment of his family and the community in which he lived; giving his time to the children’s school PTA and much of the development of the Ruakaka Racecourse, was David’s doing.
David could turn his hand to anything he put his mind to and later when the children needed some of his DIY expertise, David was right there to help them.
On the flipside, this hard working man of the land was a dab hand in the kitchen with baking; the proof of this you may well see in a photo during the reflection time.
From up North it was to Tauranga when in 1980 they purchased an orchard in Wairoa Road. It was a fruit salad orchard and unable to slow down, David undertook security work for theTauranga Hospital. However this didn’t last long as the pay was, well, to use David’s words, “if you pay peanuts, you get monkey’s” and David never considered himself a monkey.
From the orchard it was to Anne Road some 9 years later and David took over the managership of a mower shop and he did fencing work as well. Then 7 years ago David and Valerie moved to Brodie Place in Bethlehem. He established another good vege garden and he settled down for retirement.
Anything to do with the land was well ingrained in David’s psyche, as he’d tried his hand at dog trialing and had a keen interest in auctioneering, so much so, when in hospital he auctioned off a sandwich.
But so sadly, this very nice man, who had a craze for yodelling, kept up with the news at 6 every day, loved all and any televised programmes like Country Calendar; who was incredibly social and welcoming to calling visitors, started some 10 years ago, to slip behind the mystic veil known as dementia.
David Kelly was a man who had the love and support of a wonderful woman. This was evident throughout their marriage, and was demonstrated time and time again in the years leading up to him needing full time care and then in the days and hours his earthly life came to a close.
It's been said that you can measure a man in the truths he learned, in the bridges he burned, or the way that he died.
In his 75 years, David learned much, only burned the bridges he never wanted to cross again and pretty much knew when he wanted to make his exit; last Friday on his 55th wedding anniversary."
Carol Rickard (Registered Celebrant).
New Zealand Herald.
The Kelly and Crawford Families: Pioneers of the Waikato District by Debbie McCauley (unpublished manuscript).