In Loving Memory: John D. Kelleher, originally from Brockton, MA, passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 18, 2021 near his home in Falmouth on Cape Cod, where he and his family were long-time residents. They also wintered for many years in Marco Island and Naples, FL.
John is survived by his beloved wife Mary Anne (Richardson) Kelleher, partners for over 60 years; his son Mark D. Kelleher, and husband José M. Cisneros, and daughter Kerrin A. (Kelleher) Kissel, and husband Marc I. Kissel; grandchildren Alyssa R. Kissel and Sarah M. Kissel; and brother James E. Kelleher, and wife Barbara Kelleher. John is predeceased by son John Daniel Kelleher; and his parents James T. Kelleher and Margaret M. (Sexton) Kelleher.
Upon graduating from Brockton High School, Class of 1956, John proudly volunteered to complete active duty aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Remey, on which he served as a gunner and torpedoman. Both of his parents were Irish immigrants. All who knew and worked with John understood the spark and resourcefulness inspired by his folks. John undertook night classes after the Navy, first earning an Associate’s degree in engineering (AET) from Wentworth Institute of Technology, followed by a Bachelor’s degree in engineering from Northeastern University.
John began his career as a draftsman, first at McKenney Real Estate, where he designed several homes in Brockton that still exist (a fact that thrilled him), before joining the former Brockton Public Markets (BPM) under the tutelage of owner and president, Stanton Davis. Following Mr. Davis’ ambitious vision to dramatically grow BPM into a regional supermarket powerhouse, John, and the real estate & development team he led as vice president, helped successfully realize this great evolution. Over the next several decades, eventually as senior vice president, John and his colleagues drove BPM through its transformation to become Shaw’s Supermarkets, expanding rapidly from eight stores around Brockton and in Maine to over 100 across the Northeast. They subsequently steered Shaw’s through a successful I.P.O. and later acquisition by the international firm J. Sainsbury, also eventually acquiring Star Markets.
Before, and increasingly after retirement from Shaw’s, John proactively committed himself to a profound belief in giving back, joining Mary Anne in her own community volunteer work. Always active in the Rotary Club of Brockton, especially its efforts to raise scholarship funds, he became a board member and fundraiser for the Girl Scouts of New England. This was followed by his award-winning leadership, as board chairman, with the former Goddard Hospital of Brockton through its transition to a new partnership with Caritas Christi Healthcare as Good Samaritan Medical Center. Later, John directed just as much energy as a leader on the Wentworth Institute of Technology Board of Trustees, where he assisted its visionary new president with the creation of a renewed world-class, high tech focused university-level curriculum that now attracts students from around the globe. He remained a Wentworth Corporator for decades before and after his trustee service.
Throughout life, John prioritized cultivating loving relationships with family and friends. In addition to proactively maintaining contact with, and periodically visiting, cousins in England and Ireland, John doted on his beloved granddaughters, spending weeks at a time with them in New York or on Cape Cod. He and Mary Anne were members of the Woods Hole Golf Club and became avid golfers. When not golfing, they were big fans of bicycling, and cross-country skiing. They also traveled extensively together, across the United States and worldwide.
Calling hours will be held in the Russell & Pica Funeral Home/West Bridgewater, 441 South Main Street (Route 28) on Friday, April 23, 2021 from 4:30PM-7:00PM. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated for the repose of John Kelleher’s soul on Saturday, April 24th at 10:00AM in St. Ann’s Church, 103 North Main Street, West Bridgewater. Internment will follow at Calvary Cemetery, 163 North Cary Street, Brockton.