With the help of family and friends of Charles “Chuck” Kelly and numerous local officials, Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Mark Walczyk unveiled special signs along New York State Route 37 in Ogdensburg marking the “Charles ‘Chuck’ Kelly Memorial Highway.”
Kelly, an award-winning journalist and strong advocate for the North Country, passed away last October at the age of 83. After his passing, Senator Ritchie and Assemblyman Walczyk introduced legislation to rename part of New York State Route 37 in Ogdensburg in his honor. The Governor signed their bill (S.1827/A.6560) into law in August.
“Chuck Kelly was a one-of-a-kind journalist who used his talents to inform the people he served and to strengthen his community,” said Senator Ritchie. “He was a great friend and true champion for the North Country and its people. We miss Chuck every day, but by renaming this stretch of roadway in his honor we remember him and ensure the rich legacy he left behind will never be forgotten.”
“Chuck Kelly made his mark between the pages of the Ogdensburg Journal, being a fair and hard-nosed reporter, but the impact he left on the community is something that will stand the test of time,” said Assemblyman Walczyk. “Renaming a portion of State Route 37 in honor of Chuck is one small way to cement his legacy as being a tireless advocate for Ogdensburg and the surrounding community. I think I can speak on behalf of everyone from the Maple City when I say 'thank you' to the Kelly Family for sharing Chuck with us.”
The “Charles ‘Chuck’ Kelly Memorial Highway” begins at the intersection of New York State Route 37 and New York Avenue in the City of Ogdensburg and continues up to the intersection of New York State Route 37 and New York State Route 37-A.
For 56 years, Kelly worked keep his readers informed on the issues most important to their lives, while keeping governments accountable for their decisions. Kelly won numerous awards for his work, using the relationships he was able to cultivate along the way to help the city of Ogdensburg and the North Country achieve success.
Kelly was instrumental in efforts to locate new state correctional facilities in Ogdensburg, as well as successfully helped keep the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility from closing in 2011. He also fought alongside local leaders to prevent the closure of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in 2013. It was because of his strong advocacy for these facilities that Senator Ritchie and Assemblyman Walczyk specifically selected the portion of New York State Route 37 that runs in front of them to be named after Kelly.
In addition to being a journalist, Kelly served his country in United States Army and was stationed overseas in France and Germany.
Kelly also served on the boards of numerous local organizations including the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club, the St. Lawrence County Cancer Society, the Ogdensburg Volunteer Rescue Squad, the Greater Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce, the A. Barton Hepburn Hospital Development Council and Foundation, Ogdensburg Catholic Charities, the Ogdensburg Recreation Commission and the St. Lawrence Eastern Ontario Commission to which he was appointed by then Governor Hugh Carey, among many others.