Timothy Kelly and Anne Christina O’Sullivan grew up in tiny Irish villages only about three miles apart. But it wasn’t until they immigrated to the Bronx that they fell in love.
The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Oct. 11 at a festive party at the Riverdale Greentree.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Kelly grew up in the Beara peninsula, a mountainous region in the western part of County Cork. Mrs. Kelly was one of eight children, Mr. Kelly one of six.
Mr. Kelly and his five brothers and sisters were orphaned as young children. His grandmother, Julia Kelly, who was as smart as a whip but could not read or write, refused to send them to an orphanage and raised them all herself.
It wasn’t until the late 1950s after both Mr. and Mrs. Kelly had immigrated to New York that they first met — at the annual Beara dance at the Star of Munster Ballroom, a Bronx hub for Irish music, on East 138th Street.
“Dad was smitten,” said their daughter, Deb Kelly, at the party. “He got her phone number the first night.”
They were engaged a few months later and married at St. John’s Church on Kingsbridge Avenue, on Oct. 11, 1958.
Mrs. Kelly got a job as a domestic for a wealthy Park Avenue family. Her employer was a model for Vogue, and often Mrs. Kelly would sneak into her closet and wear some of her fancy clothes for an evening out.
“Eventually the doormen were convinced mom was the Vogue model, as she was, and is still, so beautiful,” her daughter said.
Mr. Kelly worked as an engineer with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 94.
They had two children, Deb and Brendan, and three grandchildren, Timmy, Jack and Kelly Ann Daly.
“My parents still hold hands,” Deb said. “They are devoted to each other. They define the meaning of the word ‘love.’”