HomeExaminerExaminer NewsMillstone resident who helped guide restoration of historic homestead passes away

Millstone resident who helped guide restoration of historic homestead passes away

MILLSTONE — Joann Kelty, 67, a resident of Millstone Township who assumed a leading role in the restoration of the community’s historic Thomas Baird Homestead, died on June 25 following a four-year battle with glioblastoma.

In an interview with the Examiner, Nancy Grbelja, a former mayor and Township Committee member, remembered Kelty as “the consummate volunteer to Millstone Township. She was our township historian while I served in office. She had a wealth of historic information about Millstone Township and the surrounding area.

“Joann was the go-to person for information and a valuable part of our ability to preserve the Baird homestead as well as the Clarksburg Cultural Center (formerly the Clarksburg Methodist Episcopal Church).

“She was at the core of everything we did in town as far as history. Joann and Doreen Polhemus were the watchdogs regarding history as our town developed,” Grbelja said, adding, “Joann will be greatly missed. She can never be replaced. Her legacy will live on.”

According to information provided by the United States Trotting Association, Kelty was born in Pennsylvania and was a caretaker at Liberty Bell Park in northeast Philadephia in the 1970s. She worked for top trainers including Steve Demas and Eddie Dunnigan.

Kelty was at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford in the early years of that track’s existence with Demas, and later took care of horses for Kelvin “Red” Harrison, Jerry Silverman and White Birch Farm. She also worked and had many friends at Showplace Farms, Millstone Township.

In 1995, Kelty moved with her horses to Millstone Township, where she became active in community affairs.

As chairwoman of the Historic Preservation Commission from 2007 until her retirement in 2019, she played a key role in the restoration of the Thomas Baird Homestead and enjoyed exploring and documenting the history of the surrounding area, according to the United States Trotting Association.

Kelty is survived by her husband, Doug; son, Michael (Laura) DeAngelis; and granddaughters, Samantha DeAngelis and Danielle DeAngelis.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation in her honor.

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