Richard and Patricia McAvoy Kelly have been made a central theme to their son, Mark Kelly’s, announcement of his run for John McCain’s Senate seat in Arizona. In his campaign video, Kelly says that he and his brother, Scott, who is also an astronaut, both “learned a lot from my mom. She became a police officer in the 1970s. I remember my mother trying to figure out how she was gonna pass this physical fitness test. It was a hard test. It was designed for men but that did not deter my mother.” Kelly went on to say that his mother passed the test in four and a half seconds, the requirement was nine seconds.
Kelly added, “My parents taught my brother and I the value of hard work. I always knew I was going to serve this country in some way.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Both of Kelly’s Parents Were Cops; They Mother Was West Orange’s First Female Cop
Kelly and his brother were raised in West Orange, New Jersey, were both Richard and Patricia served in the West Orange Police Department. A 2012 NJ.com feature on Mark and Scott Kelly detailed that their mother, a native of the Bronx, was the first female cop in the West Orange department.
I’m thinking of my mom and dad today. They taught me a lot about service. America’s first responders put everything on the line, and it should never go unnoticed. Take time to #ThankAFirstResponder today. https://t.co/lwD1eSzzlI pic.twitter.com/cTPgBHQmmy
— Mark Kelly (@ShuttleCDRKelly) October 26, 2018
Scott Kelly told the website, “I was probably 11 or 13 when she became a cop. She was the first woman to pass the men’s physical fitness test. It’s not like she was particularly athletic. She just worked really hard at it.” Before joining the department, Patricia had been a corrections officer in Essex County. In paying tribute to Patricia, West Orange Chief James Abbott told NJ.com, “She would be the first one through the door. She wasn’t afraid of anything. She’d be the first one in and she always had your back. Patty was one of the guys. She was very bright and a very good writer. She loved to write reports, so that was another benefit of being a partner with her.
2. Mark Kelly Says His Mother Got Him Through His Wife’s Shooting in 2011
Patricia Kelly tragically passed away in April 2012 in Texas after a battle with breast cancer. Patricia moved to Florida to join the Flagler Beach department where she would retire following an injury she received while making an arrest. The couple relocated from New Jersey to League City, Texas, to be closer to their grandchildren.
Mark Kelly told NJ.com in the wake of her passing that his mother had helped him greatly when his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head, along with 18 others by <a target="_blank" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Lee_Loughner" target="_blank" rel="noopener …read more