Peter T. Kelley
October 11, 2005
A service for Peter T. “Pete” Kelley, 86, will be at 11 a.m. Oct. 22 at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community, 3000 N. Lompa Lane.
Mr. Kelley died Oct. 11, 2005, at his home in Washoe Valley. He was born to an Irish father, Robert C. Kelley, and an Italian mother, Margaret Clorinda Rebaleati, in Eureka on March 22, 1919.
He went through Eureka schools and on to the University of Nevada where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1940, and met Caroline Best, his wife of 61 years.
His first newspaper job at the Lassen Advocate in Susanville, Calif., was cut short in early 1942, when he became a soldier in the U.S. Army. He served as a field correspondent for the Stars and Stripes and as the editor of the regimental newspaper Timberwolf. He saw action with the 78th Lightning Division in the European Theatre of Operations in the Battle of the Bulge in western Germany.
Following World War II, he settled in Carson City where he became the editor at age 26 at the Carson City Daily Appeal. In 1952, he went to Washington, D.C., as the executive secretary to U.S. Sen. George Malone of Nevada. In 1955, he returned to Nevada to handle Gov. Charles Russell’s successful bid for re-election.
Later that same year, Russell appointed Mr. Kelley as Nevada’s first director of the Department of Economic Development where he served for four years.
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In 1960, he opened a public relations and advertising firm in Carson City, which he maintained for 30 years, handling business accounts and statewide campaigns involving legislative, environmental and political activities at all levels. His last political campaign was in 1982, when he was part of the team thatelected Las Vegan Chic Hecht to the U.S. Senate; he was on Hecht’s staff for six years. He was inducted into the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2000.
During his retirement, he traveled to 50 countries on six continents and wrote his memoir, “Luck of the (Half) Irish, Nevada from the ’20s.”
Among his survivors are his wife; son and daughter-in-law, Jerry and Penny of Carson City; daughters and sons-in-law Susan and Randy Stewart of The Dalles, Ore., and Nancy and John Valiquette of Gardnerville; grandchildren Kelley Wilson, Rebecca Kelley, Erin Stewart, Gina Kelley, Tyler Valiquette and Michele Valiquette; sister, Marge Damele of Eureka; brother, Joe Kelley of Redlands, Calif.; and countless extended-family members and caring friends.
Donations may be made toward the reconstruction of the V&T Railroad at Northern Nevada Railway Foundation, P.O. Box 339, Carson City, 89702.
FitzHenry’s Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.