Oakwood’s Kelly dies; former city manager, public safety chief

Mike Kelly

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Mike Kelly

Oakwood is mourning the death of a public servant who worked for the city for more than three decades.

Michael Kelly served as assistant to the city manager from 1968 to 1971; as public safety director from 1971 to 1992, heading both the police and fire departments; and as city manager from 1992 until his retirement in March 2002.

Kelly died Monday. He was 76.

“Mike was the consummate professional, in every sense of the word,” Oakwood Mayor Bill Duncan said in a statement. “He will always be remembered for his dedication to the betterment of Oakwood and as a man of the highest integrity.”

Kelly led Oakwood through several notable and significant projects, including the planning, design and construction of the J. David Foell Public Works Center, preliminary planning for the reuse of the former NCR Sugar Camp property and a complete rewrite of the city’s zoning code.

“Mike was one of those very special people you meet in life,” Oakwood City Manager Norbert Klopsch said in a statement. “The manner in which he conducted himself and served the citizens and businesses of Oakwood was a role model for all. He will be missed.”

Kelly was born Nov. 8, 1945 to John and Frances (Minkus) Kelly. A Fairmont East High grad, he earned a bachelor’s degree with honors from Kent State University, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Michigan in 1969.

He served as the executive director for the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority, interim police chief for Mason Police Department, and briefly taught criminal homicide at the University of Dayton. He earned numerous awards including Public Manager of the Year, and was inaugural chairman of the Law Enforcement Foundation, with the historical distinction of being the only chief of police who will have served in that role.

Kelly also earned the Theodore S. Jones Service award for his devotion to the professionalization of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police. He was named in the book of “Who’s Who” upon being named the youngest chief of police in the country. In 2003, the OACP created the Michael J. Kelly Excellence & Innovation in Policing Award in his name.

Family will greet friends from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at Routsong Funeral Home, 2100 E. Stroop Road, Kettering. Masks are requested by the family, but not required.

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