A funeral Mass was offered June 15 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Albany, for Rev. John Kelly, who died June 10. He was 81 and had been a priest of the Albany Diocese for 54 years.

A native of Albany raised in Boston, he served as associate pastor at St. Joseph's parish in Schenectady and then at St. Mary's in Albany, while teaching at Cathedral Academy. He also served as associate pastor at St. Michael's parish in Troy, while teaching at Catholic Central High School, and at St. Pius X parish in Loudonville. In 1973, he was appointed pastor of St. John the Baptist parish in Greenville, where he served for 14 years. He had been a chaplain for several religious orders and was chaplain at Memorial Hospital in Albany from 1987 until his retirement just a few months ago.

Rev. David Berberian, vicar for clergy for the Albany Diocese, said Father Kelly loved hospital ministry "and his dedication to the sick and their families was well-known."

Father Kelly confirmed that in an interview last year. "A parish priest looks at the patient through the eyes of religion, and his ultimate goal is to help them get to heaven," he said. "It's more just taking each person as they are and being there for them. I've experienced God's presence helping me to help the person. Sometimes the right thing to say just comes out of the blue."

In a previous interview for his 50th anniversary of priestly life, Father Kelly had remarked on the many "wonderful people who have shown me compassion, forgiveness and support" over the years. Like the people to whom he ministered in his final years, he doubtless experienced what he helped others to achieve and "enjoyed the presence of God in his final hours" until he was welcomed into the loving arms of God.

Survivors include a sister, Margaret R. Machlin of New York City. Interment was in St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands.