A retired Marine Corps colonel who was so beloved that more than 1,000 people attended his funeral may soon have part of an Encinitas city street named in his honor.
Retired Col. Jack Kelly, who died in October 2014, was a “battle hardened veteran with a heart of gold” who touched a lot of people’s lives both during his years in the Marine Corps and after retiring to Encinitas in 1972, said Steve Lewandowski, commander of San Dieguito American Legion Post 416.
That’s why Legion officials are now asking the city to name a section of F Street that’s right outside their post building – the block between Second and Third streets – as “The Jack Kelly Way.”
“He was probably one of the most likable guys you’ve ever met – he had a certain charisma that drew people to him like a magnet.” said Lewandowski.
Kelly encouraged dozens of veterans to join the Legion, was a past president of both the Nice Guys and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick’s philanthropic organizations, and frequently helped needy military families personally by buying them turkeys and Christmas presents.
Lewandowski presented the Legion's naming request to the Encinitas City Council and won initial support for the idea. Council members unanimously agree to start the process, with the goal of having a dedication ceremony on Memorial Day.
Mayor Kristin Gaspar, who put the item on the council’s agenda, said it was a very small fiscal expense to the city – just $100 a sign – and a great way to honor a decorated combat veteran who devoted many hours to community service.