Marin's Fallen Firefighters

Edward Kelly

Ed Kelly


Ross Valley Fire Department

Occupational Cancer


With deepest regret and sorrow, Marin Professional Firefighters reports the passing of Edward Kelly, Local 1775 Treasurer, recently retired Ross Valley Fire Captain, Fairfax native, and loving grandfather and husband.

As one of the most generous and gregarious souls we have ever known, Ed blessed us all with his smile and companionship for nearly 40 years, through his service to Fairfax Fire Department, Ross Valley Fire Department, and Marin Professional Firefighters.

Ed lost his battle with job-related multiple-myeloma November 27, 2007, with wife Carmen and daughter Colleen at his side.

A resident of Fairfax for most of his life, Mr. Kelly died Nov. 27 at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center after a lengthy battle with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. He was 61.

"He was Mr. Fairfax," said Battalion Chief Joe Langlois of the Ross Valley Fire Department, who worked with Mr. Kelly from 1978 to 2003. "He was very proud of his community and always tried to do the best job he could for people. He was courageous and compassionate.

"He was one of the good guys."

Born in 1946 in San Francisco, Mr. Kelly moved to Fairfax with his family in 1953 and attended St. Anselm School. He graduated from Marin Catholic High School in 1964 and earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Golden Gate University.

Although he began his career as an auditor for the federal government, Mr. Kelly soon fell in love with his second job as a volunteer firefighter. He joined the Fairfax Fire Department in 1965, becoming a full-time firefighter in 1974. The department became part of the Ross Valley Fire Department, and Mr. Kelly retired in 2003 after 29 years of service.

"He was always willing to go the extra mile, even coming to the hospital the next day to see how things turned out for people," Langlois said.

Mr. Kelly served as treasurer of Marin Professional Firefighters Local 1775, and eventually followed in the footsteps of his father, Albert Kelly, as director of Fairfax's finances.

"His dad was finance director for the town, and Ed would help him out," said Carmen Kelly, Mr. Kelly's wife. "He kind of took over when his dad retired, and then he ran for town treasurer."

Mr. Kelly was unopposed in his most recent election to the post in the Nov. 6 election. The Fairfax Town Council adjourned in his memory Wednesday night.

"He had a very level-headed, conservative sense of municipal finances," said Councilman Lew Tremaine. "He really knew the ins and outs. To have him as a resource at budget time was a great asset."

Mr. Kelly's serious attitude toward finance was balanced with a keen sense of humor, Tremaine said.

"When I came to the Town Hall in the 1980s, everybody was good friends, and people played a lot of practical jokes on each other," said Councilwoman Susan Brandborg, who worked with Mr. Kelly for more than 25 years. "I remember coming in one time and finding that the letters on the computer keyboard had been changed to say 'Let's have a beer.'"

"He really cared about Fairfax," Brandborg said.

Mr. Kelly's daughter agreed, saying her father "lived and breathed this little town."

In addition to his wife, Mr. Kelly is survived by daughter Colleen Slattery of Weimar (Placer County) and stepdaughter Christine Hoburg of Novato; mother Rosalie Kelly of San Rafael and sister Pat Trenholm of Ukiah.

A funeral Mass was celebrated at at St. Rita's Church in Fairfax, with a reception at Deer Park Villa.

Ed was posthumuosly awarded the status of Treasurer Emeritus of Marin Professional Firefighters, IAFF Local 1775.

Marin Professional Firefighters, IAFF Local 1775

P.O. BOX 15, FAIRFAX, CA 94978
(415) 459-4058 ·  FAX (415) 459-8009