Donald R KelliherDecember 19, 1919 ~ July 14, 2017 (age 97)
Donald Robert Kelliher, a proud member of "America's Greatest Generation" and longtime resident of Canton, MA. Passed away on Friday, July 14, 2017 in Dover, New Hampshire at the age of 97 surrounded by his loving family. He lived a long remarkable and rewarding life. He was a United States Army Veteran of World War II having served in Africa, Italy, Germany and France. He used the G.I. Bill to attend Northeastern University receiving a mechanical engineering degree and being the first in his family to graduate from college. He passed on his love of knowledge to his children who all received secondary degrees. Along with his lifelong friend, Frank Madden, he was among the pioneers in aerial reconnaissance. They worked together on the Corona program, which was the first satellite to photograph the Soviet Union. The camera they developed for Corona is on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The level of photographic resolution they helped perfect for the camera was used for more than several decades. Don was also recognized for his work on the Viking Program to Mars. After Corona, he consulted on reconnaissance projects in the Middle East.
Don is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Rose (Murphy) Kelliher, his children Donald Robert Junior and his wife Debe, his daughter Maureen Kelliher and her partner Robert LaBrie, his daughter Ann Becker and her husband Paul, his son Dan -who cared for him in his later years, his five grandchildren (who he adored and mentored) Tracey Kelliher and her husband Glenn Gran and their son Gabriel, Julie Kelliher and her partner Ben Morrow, Catherine Becker and her husband Brett Bolin, James and Matthew Becker and his brother Richard Kelliher and his wife Mary of Oceanside, CA. Other survivors include several nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Donald was also preceded in death by his sisters Marie Winchester, Margaret Sheehan, Rita Klim and his brother Frederick Kelleher.
In addition to his career, Don will be remembered for his passion for construction, as he never shied away from a dirty hands-on job. He was also a shade-tree mechanic often in the process of repairing at least one car. Wanting to spend time with his children he learned to ski in his 40’s and continued the activity well into his 80’s. He began his running career in his 70’s and joined the 65 Plus Runners Club and participated in one Marine Corp Marathon.
Don and his grandchildren were mutual admirers and he truly enjoyed their referring to him as G.P. Don will also be remembered by all who knew him for his integrity, honesty and humor.
A celebration of Donalds life will be held on Thursday July 20, 2017 from 8:30 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. in the Sheehan, Lowe & Powers Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 115 Monk Street, Stoughton .His funeral mass will immediately follow at 10:30 A.M in St. John’ The Evangelist Catholic Church, 700 Washington Street, Canton. Burial with military honors will follow in Knollwood Memorial Park, Canton.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Don's memory be made to the Canton Veterans Fund, 801 Washington St. Canton, MA 02021