John M. ‘Mike’ Kelley

A funeral will be held Saturday, May 18, 2024 for 77-year-old John M. ‘Mike’ Kelley of Dracut, Massachusetts, a veteran of the Vietnam War, who passed away from a cardiac event on Thursday, May 2, 2024 at Lowell General Hospital surrounded by his loving family.


Mike was born on June 19, 1946, in McAlester, Oklahoma to Sewell and Opal (Thompson) Kelley who both preceded him in death.


He married Kimberly (Gagnon) (Costos) Kelley, she survives.


He is also survived by daughters: Suzanne Enslow, of Ste. Genevieve, Mo., Julia (Doug) Burris, of Ste. Genevieve, Mo., Jennifer (fiancé Michael Smith) Kelley, of Fairfax, Virg., and Jonathon (Amber) Costos, of Truckee, Calif.; grandchildren: Jeffrey Enslow, Jonathon (Victoria) Enslow, Ashton (Matt) DeRycke, Lawson Burris, Griffyn Caires, Elijah Caires, Sophia Caires, and Bellajean Costos; greatgrandchildren: Ellison DeRycke, Beau DeRycke and Sawyer DeRycke; a sister: Janet (Chuck) Graves, a brother-in-law: Joe (Karen) Gagnon; sisters-in-law Michele (Jim Coates) Gagnon, Leslie (Bob) Cox, Melanie (John) Hire, Kellie (Ted) Matte, and Natalie (Paul) Brown; a cousin: Brenda (Ray) Matte, and many more beloved nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.


Mike was also predeceased in death by his first wife Rebecca (Wisher) Kelley, and brother James Kelley.


He grew up in the McAlester, Okla. area and graduated from McAlester High School in 1964. While Mike went on to study at Eastern Oklahoma A & M College, Tulsa University, and Merrimack College, he believed that real-life experiences and hard work provided the most valuable education anyone could receive.


In 1967, Mike joined the U.S. Army with a fervent desire to serve his country. His commitment and leadership skills quickly elevated him to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, commanding an infantry unit during the Vietnam War with valor. His service was marked by a courageous tenure during which he was seriously wounded in combat and permanently disabled. His bravery and sacrifice earned him the prestigious Purple Heart medal.


Mike Kelley, affectionately known as “Big Daddy” by those closest to him, had a long career that spanned various roles. He served as a general manager at Zwicker & Associates, ventured into real estate, sold home warranty insurance, and worked as the comptroller for A.J. Gagnon & Sons. He dedicated nearly two decades as a Regional Field Service Manager at Airborne Express.


Mike’s hobbies were as varied as his career. He cherished watching the Red Sox, fishing, and spending tranquil moments on his boat, the Pit Princess. He found joy in reading books, watching television with the volume on high while chatting on the phone, as well as a good gamble. Mike’s personality was magnetic and brave, characterized by his kindness, grit, and impeccable manners. Among his favorite things were ice cream, popcorn, playing the lottery, and dancing on special occasions.


He held a special affection for Aruba and the friends he made there. Known for his wisdom, humor, and storytelling prowess, Mike was the go-to person for life advice and never meeting a stranger he couldn’t connect with. His legacy as a gentleman and bighearted, loving man will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege to know him.




The family wishes to thank Holly, Rebekah, Lisa, Julia, Dr. Finlay at Lowell General Hospital for thoughtfully and compassionately caring for Mike. For those wishing to contribute to a cause Mike deeply cared about, donations can be made to No Veteran Dies Alone.


A funeral for 77-year-old John M. ‘Mike’ Kelley will be held Saturday, May 18, at 12 noon at Carrier Funeral Home in Windham, New Hampshire.


His final resting place will be at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.