It has now been over nine hours since I got the awful news of
Kellyaga's death. I have read all of the messages that have been
posted since, and I find it comforting that so many people really
knew Dave Kelly, the man, and appreciated him for the person he
was inside. When I first became acquainted with Kellyaga, it was
because of his love for jai-alai and his flamboyant nature.....I
didn't know anything about what kind of person he was. The first
time I met him in person was on Ocala's opening day in 2005, but
ironically, Dave and I really got to know each other after the
passing of Jack Carr in 2006, and we developed a friendship via
internet and phone. When I told him that I was planning on attending
the Citrus for the first time in 2007, Dave told me that I was
welcome to stay at his place while in town. That told me a lot
about him. While he and I had been in touch quite a bit, we had
only met each other in person that one time at Ocala, and yet
he opened his home to me. I did accept his offer, and while at
the "Hotel Kellyaga" (as Jody so aptly called it), Dave
and I had the chance to really talk, and I learned a lot about
the person Dave Kelly was, a man who cared very deeply not only
about the sport of jai-alai, but about people as well.
It's sad enough to lose a man like Dave, but it's so much sadder because he was about to marry a woman whom he loved so totally, and who made him so happy. In fact, when I said goodbye to him last Monday before heading to the airport to fly back home, I told him that the next time I'd see him would be for the happiest day of his life. To his fiancee, Jetlin, and to all of Dave's family and friends, my very deepest sympathies.
Jai-alai has been fortunate to have Thee Kellyaga as a fan and an ambassador, and those of us who knew him have been fortunate as well. Dave.....I will never forget your kindness, your sense of humor, or your funky left side. You have been a great friend, and truly one of a kind. They say there's no such thing as a sure thing, but I can give you two. You will never be forgotten, and you will always be thought of with warmth and fondness. Rest in peace, Thee.