Medical 05

Dr. Leo "Lee" T. Kelly

February 19, 2022


Leo "Lee" T. Kelly, 88, died peacefully on 19 February 2022 at Season’s Hospice in Milton. Born and raised in East Boston, Lee attended Boston College High School (1950), Boston College University (1954), Boston University Medical School (1958). He trained and practiced in Boston at MGH and the MA Eye & Ear Hospital. As a physician, he never stopped teaching, first as a pioneer in anesthesia residency education, and later as a community anesthesiologist. He was involved in introducing CPR at Massachusetts General Hospital, and was the night supervisor at the first intensive care unit in America. He did early research with Dr. Judah Folkman, and rejoiced in Dr. Folkman’s successes as a world-renowned cancer researcher. He was the first doctor to have a patient survive malignant hyperthermia, a rare complication of anesthesia; and the first to diagnose and have a patient survive Red Tide poisoning in Massachusetts. He established the anesthesiology training program at Cambridge City Hospital, then continued his career at JB Thomas, Hunt Memorial, and Marlborough Hospitals. Under his guidance, the whole team of nurses at Marlborough became certified for intensive post anesthesia care at a time when few academic centers could claim that distinction.  He raised his family in Lynnfield, MA, before pursuing his California Dream at the San Joaquin Surgery Center in Fresno. He retired to Milton, MA in 1993.

He trained to be a forward observer for US army infantry battalions before his active service in the Navy, which took him to the Blockade of Cuba as anesthesiologist for a Marine surgical team. He taught submarine medicine for the US Government at the Groton, CT submarine base. He remained in the Naval Reserve until 1972.

Lee is survived by his devoted and loving partner of over 20 years, Nelida Pereira of Milton & East Boston, MA and Mar de Plata, Argentina; his stalwart friend and champion, Joseph Fahey of Randolph, MA; and his children: Christine Kelly of Woburn, MA; Kathleen Kelly (Landis Rogers) of Kingston, NH; and Joseph Kelly of San Francisco, CA.

Lee is survived also by his only sister Mary/Sis (Kelly) O’Connell of Brunswick, ME; his brother Robert F. Kelly of Worcester, MA; and many nieces and nephews scattered throughout the US.  He was predeceased by 6 of his brothers - Paul, Bill, Joe, Charles, John & Gerard.

Lee enjoyed travel, outdoor activities on the water, and golf, Boston College sports, chocolate, ice cream, and a really good tomato from his or anyone else’s garden.

Friends are invited to his Funeral Mass Saturday, 26 February, at St. Elizabeth Church, 350 Reedsdale Ave., Milton, at 11:00 am.  A Visiting Hour will be hosted, 9:30 - 10:30 am at Alfred D. Thomas Funeral Home, 326 Granite Ave., Milton, MA.  Burial immediately following at Holy Cross Cemetery, 175 Broadway, Malden.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Lee’s name to Boston College High School, 150 Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125.


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