William Brian “Boru” Kelly died peacefully in his home in Southold on Feb. 8, 2024. He was 84 years old.

Born Nov. 30, 1939, to Agatha (Tynan) and Edward Kelly, Brian was the youngest of seven children living on Valentine Avenue in the Bronx. He attended St. Simon Stock Catholic School in the Bronx, where the strict nuns left a lasting impression; conforming did not come naturally to him. During his childhood and formative years, his aunts would often read to him, which fueled a lifelong passion for reading. Brian summered with his family in Southold and eventually moved with his family to their home on Founders Path in 1951, and thereafter absolutely cherished his life, friends and experiences in Southold!

Brian attended Southold High School, earned a GED and went on to study history, earning his undergraduate degree at Southampton College and his graduate degree at NYS University. He was well versed and interested in all historical analogies, but he was a lifelong learner and extremely fond of historic analogies pertaining to his Irish heritage, of which he was extremely proud. Brian served in the U.S. Army in the 82nd Airborne Division from 1957 to 1960 and always exhibited the utmost respect of those that also served their country.

After his time in the service, Brian worked in many capacities, but mostly as a self-employed carpenter. During a stint in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, he formed a joint venture called Hammerhead Construction with a good friend and co-conspirator, Vic Power.

Brian was a unique, gifted and creative soul who enjoyed music and writing poetry. He had an eye for beauty and for creative living spaces. His character drew people to him, but books and dogs were his favorite companions. He was unconfined and unconventional in thinking and living. He was insightful and offered good counsel when it was sought, as he was contrarian and an active debater when it was not.

He loved nature and living symbiotically. He had a heart for adventure and a vivid imagination, which drew him to the romance of the sea, taking advantage of every opportunity to set sail upon the beautiful waters of Peconic Bay when the wind was favorable. When returning to his safe haven at Southold Town Creek after a day of sail, his shenanigans while attempting to moor and disembark never disappointed the accustomed onlookers.

Brian is survived by his five children: Shelly Milowski, Coleen Witherspoon, Noreen, Sean and Brendan Kelly; nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

A celebration of his life will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, donations to Southold Police Benevolent Association, Southold Fire Department, Southold American Legion Post 803 or Disabled American Veterans are appreciated.

DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Southold is assisting the family.

This is a paid notice.

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