North County Labor Club toasts founder and longtime Labor leader Dick Kellett

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Brother Kellett passed away on Feb. 16

By MARY ANN O’TOOLE HOLLEY
Correspondent

REMEMBERING BROTHER Dick Kellett, his son-in-law Tim Rone said “He was working for Labor till his last breath.” – Labor Tribune photo

North County Labor Club remembered its founder and longtime president Dick Kellett at its March 2 meeting with a toast of Irish whiskey. Kellett, the founder and longtime president of the Labor Club, passed away on Feb. 16. He was 85.

A former business agent and 66-year member of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562, Brother Kellett was a stalwart champion of working families.

Dick Kellett, Jr., one of Brother Kellett’s seven children, spoke at the meeting saying his dad’s whole life was about the Labor Movement.
“I’m lucky to call him my father,” Kellett said. “Thank you for honoring him.”

WORKING FOR LABOR UNTIL THE END
Brother Kellett’s son-in-law, Tim Rone, also a longtime officer and member of the Labor Club, said the whiskey served was brought to the house the morning Brother Kellett died, from someone who wanted to thank him for helping a young man get a job.

Since his passing, Rone said more than $5,000 had been donated in Brother Kellett’s memory, from friends across the country, to the St. Louis Labor Council’s “$5 for the

NORTH COUNTY LABOR CLUB OFFICERS, (from left) Sergeant-at-Arms Butch Hepburn, former long-time member of the Club Tim Rone, President Fred Searcy and Vice President Randy Schroeder toast Dick Kellett, founder and longtime president of the club, who passed away Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. – Labor Tribune photo

Fight” fund, which helps union members in times of financial hardship.

“He was working for Labor till his last breath,” Rone said.

Memorials to the “$5 for the Fight” fund may be made to “$5 for the Fight” c/o St. Louis Labor Council, 3301 Hollenberg Dr., Bridgeton, Mo. 63044, or at labortribune.com/5-for-the-fight.

PICNIC, GOLF TOURNAMENT RENAMED
Club President Fred Searcy, a Local 562 business agent, said in Kellett’s memory, the Club’s annual picnic, a must-attend event for Labor and political leaders, had been renamed, “The North County Labor Legislative Club Dick Kellett Memorial Picnic.”

Searcy became president of the North County Labor Club in 2018, just a few years after Kellett retired as Club president.

“Dick and some other guys (Dave ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald, Butch Hepburn, Mike Walsh and Dick Sullivan) were all there. They worked out the by-laws and started up a storefront donated by Handyman Hardware.”

“Without the leadership they showed us, Labor would be in a pretty bad situation now,” Searcy said. “Mr. Kellett and others laid down the groundwork, showing how being union and being united could allow us to be effective in politics. Without him and others, the club would not exist.”

In honor of fellow co-founder, Dick Sullivan, the Club’s annual golf tournament was also renamed “The North County Labor Legislative Club Dick Sullivan Golf Tournament.”

 

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