Barry Kelly, 1959 to 2012

Eric Sparling
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School's first principal a family man

AMHERST – Spring Street Academy’s first principal died April 27. Barry Kelly was 52 when he succumbed to cancer Friday.

“Barry was a very dedicated family man…,” said friend Rick Van Snick. They knew each other through one of Kelly’s passions, cart racing. Their sons raced together.

“(He) was always lending a hand and helping others in the racing community,” said Van Snick. “You could always see him smile when he shared his extensive racing knowledge with others.”

Van Snick said Kelly loved cart racing with his son, Nathan.

The principal, born in Halifax in 1959, was a graduate of Springhill High School, Mount Allison University and Dalhousie University. He married Rhonda in 1984. Kelly worked in Shelburne, Springhill and Amherst. He was the principal of R.B. Dickey before becoming principal of Spring Street Academy.

His passions included racing, golf, hockey and home restoration.

Kelly was also instrumental in introducing Keith Mackintosh’s son, Ryan, to cart racing.

“We met Barry when he became the principal at R.B. Dickey, and our daughter Lauren was a student there,” said Mackintosh. “He mentored our son Ryan and basically opened the doors to Ryan getting involved in racing.

“He was the kindest most helpful person I ever met, and he always had a kind smile.”

Mackintosh said losing a man like Kelly will be tough for his friends, the school community and, especially, for his family.

“Barry was, if nothing else, first and foremost a family guy,” said Mackintosh. “To be at a race track and to see him watching Nathan, or to see him at the rink and to see him watching Nathan playing hockey, either one, you could tell he was very proud father.”

According to his obituary, “his wife and son was his reason for being”; he enjoyed “an Irish life well lived” and “left this world a better place than he found it.”

A visitation for students and friends will be held at Campbell’s Funeral Home Sunday from 6 p.m. to 9. A service celebrating his life will take place April 30 at 4 p.m. at First Baptist Church.




Organizations: Street Academy, Springhill High School, Mount Allison University Dalhousie University First Baptist Church

Geographic location: Halifax, Shelburne

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Recent comments

  • Doug Forbes
    April 29, 2012 - 17:05

    Barry was a very nice kind and great man he was prncipal at RB Dickey when both of my children a very well spoken and compassionate man. I am sorry to heAR OF HIS PASSING THE WORLD IS A LESSER PLACE FOR HAVING LOST THIS MAN to Gods world but his example of what he brought to his students, staff, family and friends will leave fond memories forever!

  • colton
    April 29, 2012 - 08:46

    i had him for a principal the first year SSA opened and he came and played almost every recess with us and he knew pretty much every students name ill miss you Mr. kelly

  • Dale and Wayne Mac Dougall
    April 28, 2012 - 22:12

    Rhonda and Nathan, So sorry to hear about Barry's passing. It will give you comfort to know that he is gone to a better place and that he won't have to suffer any more! We did not have the priviledge of working with Barry, but anyone who ever did, had only praise for him. He had a great rapport with both staff and children and we know that he will always be remembered and sadly missed!

  • Margaret
    April 28, 2012 - 19:22

    Barry Kelly was a wonderful man and administrator. My children both had the priviledge of knowing him. He will be missed by the students who know of his caring ways and open manner in working with the students and parents. He was always present outside at recess and before and after school, always approachable and took great pride in the school and its' students. One would often see Mr. Kelly giving pushes to kids on the swings, tidying up around the school yard, and mowing the school yard in the summer. Spring Street Academy has lost a great teacher and wonderful man.

    • Sheryl Cowcill
      April 29, 2012 - 05:58

      Barry Kelly was a wonderful leader and mentor. I am a better administrator because of him. Watching the way he interacted with parents, students and teachers inspired me. His cool manner, his dedication to professionalism and his sense of humor made our time working together a most enjoyable and valuable learning experience. Working with Barry Kelly has enriched my life.