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Tue, 01.26.1926

Samuel Kelly, Soldier, and Administrator born

Samuel Kelly

*Samuel Kelly was born on this date in 1926. He was a Black soldier and educator.

Samuel Eugene Kelly was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, to James Handy Kelly, a minister, and Essie Matilda Allen-Kelly, a homemaker. Educated at Greenwich public schools, Kelly dropped out of high school in 1943 and joined the United States Army the following year. He completed Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and in August 1945, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.

Kelly continued to pursue educational credentials while in the Army. In 1948 he completed high school and became part of the U.S. occupying forces in Japan until 1950. During the Korean war, Kelly commanded an integrated combat unit. In 1950, Kelly married Joyce Estella Lyle. The couple had three children, William and twins Brenda Joyce and Sharon Yvonne. 

Kelly returned to the United States in 1952 and joined the 188th Airborne Regimental Combat Team two years later at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He was promoted to Colonel in 1966. His last post before retirement was at Fort Lewis, Washington. In 1959 he received a B.A. in history from West Virginia State. One year later, he received an M.A. in history from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. Dr. Kelly was also a member of Omega Psi Phi and Sigma Pi Phi fraternities.

Upon retiring from the Army in 1966, Kelly became an educator. He became the first Black hired at Everett Junior College in Everett, Washington. By 1967 Kelly, at Shoreline Community College in Shoreline, Washington, developed one of the first Black Studies programs in the United States. Because of his profile at Shoreline Community College, in 1970, Kelly was hired as the first Vice President for Minority Affairs at the University of Washington. Kelly completed the Ph.D. program at the University of Washington in 1971. He was also appointed to the faculty of the College of Education that same year. 

Kelly remained at the University of Washington until 1982. Heading the Office of Minority Affairs during the 1970s, he fashioned policies to bring thousands of nonwhite and poor white students to the University of Washington. After the death of his first wife, Kelly married Donna Schaplow, an administrator in the University of Washington personnel department. The couple had one son.

In 1991 Kelly began a third career as a teacher-administrator at Portland OIC/Rosemary Anderson Middle and High School in Portland, Oregon. For the next thirteen years, he helped troubled inner-city students complete high school while leading successful fundraising campaigns to expand the school’s programs. In 2004, at the age of 78, Kelly retired as President/CEO of the Anderson School. Dr. Samuel Kelly passed away on Monday, July 6, 2009, at his home in Redmond, Washington. He was 83.

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