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.