Stephen Kelly was a kind, loving, big hearted man, whose loss will be mourned by everyone who knew him. He had many strengths. He was polite and courteous; he was a leader in almost every field he ever sought work; he cared for people and he let them know it. Children absolutely adored him because he truly was a kid at heart. He had many loves. He loved his family and friends and his pets, especially his dogs, Johnny and Daisy. He had a passion for a wide variety of music, a love he got from his dad. He was an avid reader of fantasy novels especially, including The Lord of the Rings series, The Wheel of Time series, and the Harry Potter series. He also loved his sports teams. The Mets fan base has grown in numbers this week. His heart has touched so many; it is incredibly painful to say goodbye.
Stephen is survived by his loving parents Hazel and Robert Kelly, his sisters Julie Hunter (Marqus) and Gina McCormick (Matt) and his three nephews who are forever grateful for his love and attention, Luke, Evan and Trey McCormick. He is also survived by his grandmother, Evelyn Kelly, who loved him dearly. Stephen grieved the loss of his paternal grandfather, Robert A. Kelly, his uncle, Robert Raimann and his aunt, Joan Stein. The tragic loss of his fiancé Oliva Klatt in 2020 was truly devastating for him and left a hole in his heart that never healed.
Stephen’s parents could not have loved him any harder. They fought for his success and were so proud of him. They have the fondest memories of his childhood and watching him grow. Stephen’s mother raised him to be kind and put others before himself and was forever his advocate and biggest fan. His father welcomed him with delight in 1986 as the Mets won the World Series on the very night Stephen was born. They bonded over music and baseball and especially loved attending concerts and games together.
His sisters have endless memories of the wonderful times they spent together, including baseball games, concerts, beach days, Nintendo 64 battles, board games, playing cards and trips to Baltimore, as he also rooted for his dad’s favorite team, the Orioles. His sisters loved him beyond measure and always sought to protect him from any challenges that life threw his way. The three always bonded over their crazy and immensely loving parents who would do anything for them. They will miss him every day forever.
Stephen is also survived by many aunts, uncles, and cousins who adored him, including Ginger Raiman Roe (Ray), Nancy Smith (Ted), Kathleen O’Donnell (Andrew), Kenneth Stein, Daniel Kelly (Genny), Pat Benesta (Mike), TK Smith (Harley), Grace Smith, Max Stein, Jacqueline Stein, Griffin O’Donnell, Luke O’Donnell (Lucy), Hunter O’Donnell, Cole O’Donnell, Taryn Benesta (Brent), Cody Benesta (Ali), Kristin Cocci (Skip), Kara Vittum (Quinn), Robert Raimann (Parker) and Alicia Raimann (Eric). They will miss his smile but will carry his memory with them always.
Stephen was incredibly lucky to have the love and support of his second family, Dusty Klatt and Emily and Justin Wagner. Justin was the brother Stephen never had, and the two of them spent endless time together riding motorcycles and sharing laughs. Stephen adored Emily and Justin’s children, Liam (Oshea), Chip, Evelynn, and Wednesday Wagner. He was incredibly proud to be the godfather of Wednesday, age 2. The love Emily and Justin demonstrated after the loss of Olivia was inspiring. Olivia’s mother, Jan Foster, was also very fond of Stephen.
Stephen was particularly adept at making friends and showing those individuals how much he cared for them. His former co-workers at Metro Marketing and his current classmates in the NJ Transit training program would certainly agree. He would give anyone he knew the shirt off his back if they asked. To know Stephen was to love him. There was something in him that just drew people to him.
Despite his mother’s worry, he was particularly fond of his motorcycle, Althea, which he named after a song by his favorite band, the Grateful Dead. They had many great rides together that served as a comfort for him during challenging times.
Stephen had to endure too many battles in his life, from addiction to multiple tragic losses of his fiancé, dear friends Jimmy and Christina and his first dog, Johnny. But throughout it all, he kept fighting and kept smiling. No matter what circumstances life presented him with, Stephen faced them head on, and continued to radiate love. Stephen sought to help many friends and acquaintances through their own struggles with addiction and helped change the lives of countless people he met. Those who knew him are grateful for his love and friendship. He will be eternally missed.
Relatives and friends are invited to greet the family at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Little Silver, NJ on Tuesday, September 6th from 10 am to 10:45 am. A memorial service will begin at 11 am. All who knew and loved him are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Monmouth County SPCA, 260 Wall St, Eatontown, NJ 07724 in memory of Stephen. Thompson Memorial Home of Red Bank, NJ has been entrusted with the arrangements.