Springfield Gardens, N.Y. – On Saturday morning, July 29, Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) joined the family and friends of Walter Kelly Jr. to unveil the newly co-named intersection of 132nd Avenue and Farmers Boulevard in Springfield Gardens as Walter Kelly Jr. Way.
Mr. Kelly played in the United States Army Band during the Korean War where he earned the rank of Sergeant. He later received a Certificate of Recognition for his service in promoting peace and stability for the United States of America, from Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, and a Certificate of Merit for his dedication and service to the United States Military. Afterwards he attended the Harnett Music School. He then played with the United States Post Office Band by day and by night was engaged playing for concerts and various nightclubs in New York City.
He was an integral member of the great musicians of those “Jazz Heydays” in Harlem during the 50’s and 60’s. His style was heavily influenced by his friend and mentor, the late, great Clifford Brown. Dizzy Gillespie once commented that Walter’s style and sound was unparalleled by any other trumpeter of his time.
Until his death, Walter was an active band leader, trumpet and flugelhorn player where he often performed at the Robert Couche Senior Center, where his wife, Eleanor, is the Executive Director.
“Co-naming streets is an important way to connect our community leaders and veterans from the past with our residents of the present and the future,” said Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton). “The service and dedication of Walter Kelly Jr. should never be forgotten since his life helped improve our communities and our country for the better. It is critical that we honor the service and sacrifice of brave men and women of the armed forces, who dedicated their lives to protecting our country and our freedom.”