Robert Michael Kelly

Published 4:53 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Robert “Bob” Michael Kelly, 70, of Smithfield, Virginia passed away at home on November 11, 2023.

He was preceded in death by his parents Thomas C. and Lorraine E. Kelly. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Janice M. Kelly and his daughter Brianna N. Philipps-Kelly and her wife Ashley; brother and sister-in-law, Tom and Trish Kelly; brother-in-law Dennis French; nephew and his wife, Matt and Diana Kelly; and his special aunt and uncle and many nieces and nephews.

Bob was born and raised in Hampton, VA and was a 1971 graduate of Kecoughtan High School. He played trombone as a proud member of both the school band and the local rock band, Liberation. He also developed a love for playing guitar.

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Bob was a member of Pi Tau Sigma fraternity and graduated from Virginia Tech in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He worked in various positions for the Department of Defense throughout his career. He worked at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in the Engineering Department Service Piping/HVAC Branch. He then worked at Newport News Shipbuilding as a Supervisory Computer Specialist, a Future Carriers Senior Project Engineer and as Senior Project Engineer for the Refueling and Overhaul of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and as a Supervisory Production Controller. Over the course of his career, Bob received numerous awards and honors recognizing his outstanding work performance and leadership. He was awarded the Meritorious Civilian Service Award upon his retirement in 2008.

Bob’s greatest achievement, however, was his daughter Bria and her talent for singing. Bob was the proud stage dad and sound engineer behind all of her performances, culminating in the entire nation hearing what he was so proud of when she performed on America’s Got Talent and The Voice.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, December 4, 2023, 3:00pm at Little’s Funeral Home, 1515 South Church Street, Smithfield, VA. The Kelly family invites you to celebrate Bob’s life and welcomes you to the memorial service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Christina Grimmie Foundation at Online condolences may be registered at