Kitty Kelly, beloved wife of Michael Albrecht and daughter of John Kelly and Hannah Cavanagh, a lifelong resident of Chestnut Hill, died in her home on September 24 at the age of 73. In addition to her husband and his daughter Charlotte, Kelly is survived by her sister Eunice Kelly Deter, her niece Kelly Morgan (Steve), her nephew Christopher Arndt, grandniece Hannah Morgan, and grandnephew Sheamus Morgan.
Kelly graduated from Cardinal Dougherty High School in 1963, and from Chestnut Hill College, in 1967. She was raised with a love of Irish music and culture. As a young woman she learned traditional Irish fiddling from John Kelly (no relation), playing next to him in the Philadelphia Ceili Band for the Philadelphia Ceili Group’s regular Friday night Ceilis in the 1980s.
Kelly traveled to Ireland, playing the fiddle in pubs across the country, searching out — and learning from — masters of traditional Irish music. She brought back many tunes that have since formed the basis of the Philadelphia session repertoire.
She also worked tirelessly for the cause of Irish freedom and a United Ireland. As part of an American delegation, she traveled to Derry and Belfast to bear witness to the atrocities committed by the United Kingdom in Northern Ireland. During her time in Ireland, she developed deep ties to her cousins in Inishowen, Donegal. She became an Irish citizen in 2015.
A funeral Mass was celebrated on Saturday, September 29 at Our Mother of Consolation Church, 9 E. Chestnut Hill Avenue. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Commodore Barry Club, 6815 Emlen St., Philadelphia, Pa 19119.