Michael T. Kelly

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  • "My dears ~ Rita & Judy, I have just rec'd the sad news of..."
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    - Helen La Count
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Service Information
Conroy Tully Walker Funeral Homes and Cremation Services
172 State Street
Portland, ME

SCARBOROUGH - Michael T. Kelly, 70, of Kelly Lane, Higgins Beach, died on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 at his home, following a long illness.

Michael was born in Portland, on July 10, 1948, the son of the late Daniel P. and Mary M. (Gorham) Kelly. He grew up on Munjoy Hill and graduated from Portland High School in the class of 1967.

After a tour with the Merchant Marines, Michael started a serial entrepreneurial career. He was instrumental in the establishment of Erebus on Center Street, Portland's first counter culture venture, with stores from York Beach to Sugarloaf. As a menswear Buyer for the ultra-hip Erebus, he introduced the British "invasion". With House Productions, his new music and entertainment enterprise, he was responsible for some of the first rock concerts in Maine, with bands such as Jethro Tull, Jesse Colin Young and the Young Bloods, and the J. Geils Band. In 1968, Michael introduced Earth Day to the area and presented a free concert overlooking Casco Bay to celebrate. He would go on to be the creative force behind the Disco movement in Maine when he created the Oasis Nite Club on Middle Street; he was the first Maine DJ to spin electronic dance hits on dual turntables.

In 1980 Michael created Montana, serving the "Best Burger" in Portland. Many still remember Montana, located on the corner of Center and Spring Streets, for the giant Iguana that resided on its roof. In 1983 Michael started his life changing career in specialty advertising, working for Dennis Sherman at Free Spirit Enterprise. In 1986, he founded Ocean Specialties, maintaining major advertising accounts with the Scotia Prince and White Rock Distillery. This flourishing enterprise involved traveling to sourcing products from many exciting world locations.

In 2001 Michael began building homes and developing his own Higgins Beach neighborhood on Kelly Lane in memory of his mother, Mary Kelly. There are currently 16 homes in the Kelly Lane Association. During that time, he donated many excess building materials to The Habitat For Humanity Restore. On May 25, 2011 Michael married his high school sweetheart, and life companion, Rita Yarnold. As a wedding present, he built their beautiful home on 16 Kelly Lane. Michael was a life member of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland and a longtime member of the Purpoodock Club in Cape Elizabeth. His greatest love was the time spent surrounded by his family and creating new life adventures. He will long be remembered as a visionary and a trendsetter who did things in a big way, without the need for notoriety. Michael's life was well lived - he did it his way.

Michael is survived by his devoted wife, Rita Yarnold of Scarborough; his loving sister, Judith Kelly of Scarborough; his only nephew, Jonah M. Gideon of Austin, Texas; his beloved mother-in-law, Mena Yarnold; several wonderful Gorham cousins; and his lifelong friends, Gina Lee Day, Jim Lee and their families. His devoted dog, Mickey Kelly, already misses him dearly.

Visiting hours, celebrating Michael's life will be held on Thursday, February, 7, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 172 State Street, in Portland. Prayers will be recited at the funeral home on Friday, February 8, at 9:15 a.m., followed by a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress Street, Portland. To view Michael's memorial page, or to share an online condolence, please visit www.ConroyTullyWalker.com

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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Feb. 6, 2019
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