On February 1, 2008, in Orlando, just an easy dejada from the fronton that was his second home, a tragic fire took the life of David Bryan Kelly, known to to the jai-alai world as "Kellyaga" or "Thee Kellyaga." He was just 51, and planned soon to be married to the joy of his life, Jetlin Stubbs. The fire took him from us, and from Jettie.
A true friend of the jai-alai
world and ambassador to the sport, he introduced countless newcomers
to the game and helped and encouraged many others to learn. He
played in many frontons all over the world, in fact, his lifetime
goal was to play in every fronton in the world (yes, literally
that). He didn't reach his goal, but who is to say he wouldn't
have had not his life been cut short.
And, he always carried his business card.
Here at Chalk Talk, he was an active and effusive participant, except for an occasional hiatus when he lost patience with some of the nonsense that was posted here. He did not suffer fools.
This Hall of Fame archive, with
the thoughts and wishes of our board members, is dedicated to
The Chalk Talk discussion forum recorded the largest number of messages ever received on any topic, over 100. All of these message postings may be found at the bottom of this page, and we will eventually add the responses from the Hall of Fame posting itself. Several of the 2008 messages contained links to TV news stories of the fire but, unfortunately, these links have expired and are no longer available in station archives. We were able to find the original obituary notice, though:
Orlando Sentinel Obituary
KELLY, DAVID B., "KELLYAGA", Dave was born in Jacksonville, NC and moved shortly after to Broomall, PA where he grew up making many friends with his outgoing personality. He spent his summers in Ocean City, NJ. Dave attended Paxon Hollow Jr. High, Malvern Prep, followed by West Chester University where he was President of the Political Science Club. Everyone enjoyed conversing with Dave about politics. He was both smart and savvy. In the mid 1980's, Dave moved to the Orlando area where he and his father owned and operated an industrial maintenance company. While living in Orlando, Dave fell in love with the sport and people of Jai-Alai, while visiting the Jai-Alia Fronton in Casselberry. He became the games most beloved fan and ambassador taking the name "Kelly-aga". He traveled to Spain, Mexico, France and Connecticut playing amateur matches. He made friends everywhere while promoting the sport. Please google "Tigers Chalk Talk" to view the comments and tributes. Dave was "one in a million". He was loving, kind, full of fun, and anyone who met him smiled while in his presence. He never met a man he did not like...there will be a void in so many lives losing this special person at such a young age. Dave loved and served others all his life. In that way he was always serving the Lord. He was faithful until his calling. We are all at ultimate peace with the knowledge that God has called him to heaven. Dave was engaged to be married in April to a beautiful, accomplished Christian woman, Jettlin Stubbs, from Freeport, Bahamas. Dave is survived by his mother Sally of Cocoa Beach, FL; father Jim of Vero Beach, FL; brother Chris and his wife Lisa of Orlando and brother Matthew of West Chester, PA. Dave's influence continued to a large and loving extended family. A viewing will be held at the Beckman- Williamson Funeral Home, 101 N. Brevard Avenue, Cocoa Beach, FL, 321-784-0116, on Friday, February 8th from 11AM to 1PM. Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 2PM at Our Saviour's Catholic Church, 5301 N. Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach, FL. A celebration of Dave's life will be continued between 3:30 and 6:30 with refreshments served. Plans are under way to develop the "Kellyaga" Foundation, a charitable organization. Published in the Orlando Sentinel on February 7, 2008 Read original obituary HERE:
To permanently honor Kellyaga, Orlando Jai-Alai has mounted a special plaque in their lobby.
It was reported here by Bill at JaiAlaiUSA:
By the way, special thanks to JaiAlaiUSA, where we obtained some of these photos.
JaiAlaiUSA, too, has created a tribute page for Kellyaga, which can be found at:
http://kellyaga.tripod.com (link temporarily disabled - technical reasons)
With Orlando pro Francisco (Pancho) Emmelhainz
With Orlando GM Francisco (Elorri) Elorriaga
National Jai-Alai Association
reception at 2008 Citrus
(with Chalk Talk's panch0)
Always in uniform, Kellyaga was a surprise
visitor at Jody C's 40th birthday in Connecticut (2006).
Jody, too, is sadly no longer with us. Jody's wife Lori remembers:
Posted on February 4, 2008 at 02:35:28 PM by Lori Calabrese
I, too, feel that I must leave a post for my dear friend, Dave Kelly, known as Thee Kellyaga, to honor his memory. I knew of Kellyaga thru my husband, Jody Calabrese, when he would talk about him to me... BUT I first met him personally via email, to ask him to attend my husband's 40th birthday party back in 2006... I still have his email replies and will always keep them. What a man! When I picked him up at the airport back in August of 06... I must say he was the most interesting man that I have ever met! Not only did we have some real good conversations on many topics of BOTH our interests, but he made me laugh! Just being with him on that ride back to our hometown... I knew he was a special person... a ONE-OF-A-KIND! He spent the whole next day and night at our home... helping us celebrate my husband's birthday! HE WAS THE LIFE OF THE PARTY!! I will always cherish that day! Since that time... I have spoken to him by phone MANY times.... the most recent was only a few weeks ago.... He always had a way to make me smile... even over the phone! He always cared about how our kids were.... Zeph, our son, and our triplet little girls... or the "BUMPER CAR GIRLS" as he liked to call them! LOL
He most recently spoke of his beautiful Jettie... and how much he loved her! We were so happy for him... my condolences go out to his beloved!
Kellyaga, I did not get to know you as well as I would have liked... but I feel very fortunate to know you as much as I did! You ALWAYS had inspirational words for me when we spoke on the phone and you always made me feel like I was so special and Blessed! Thank you for that! There are not many friends that do that in this world we live in today! You will be missed greatly in the Calabrese household! We love you!
Sentiments from David's parents
Four years ago, February
1, was that awful morning.
We are grateful to know that Dave was overcome by smoke and nothing worst from the fire.
Dave was a great man with
faults like all of us. His heart was bigger than he was.
He touched people all his life even as a young boy.
He was caring, fun loving, and happy go lucky, but also had a serious side, if you were ever in a conversation with him.
Dave was the best son any parent would hope for.
He is with God now, but we think of him day, night and in between.
We are grateful to have his fiancée Jettie in our lives.
She loves us like a daughter and she is the daughter we never had.
We love her!
Thanks to everyone for keeping
Dave in your thoughts and heart.
Special thanks to Ralph Butts "Tiger," for his tribute.
Sally & Jim Kelly - Kellyaga's parents
I must regretfully inform you that our friend kellyaga passed
away in a home fire last night.
This has been confirmed by Mr. Elorri at OJA. He received the news from kellyaga's fiancee, who is apparently OK.
Words fail me at this time. Much will be written here and he will be sorely missed.