New York outdoor writer, author J. Michael Kelly dies at age 75 – Outdoor News

Marcellus, N.Y. — Well-known outdoor writer and author J. Michael Kelly, 75, of Marcellus, N.Y., passed away on April 24 after dealing with a long illness.

Kelly is known throughout central New York and beyond as he spent the later years of his writing career as the outdoors editor of the Post-Standard in Syracuse.

An avid angler and bird hunter, Kelly’s books reflected those topics. His titles included Farewell, Old Girl, Fishing the Finger Lakes, and Trout Streams of Central New York.

According to his obituary, Kelly graduated from Marcellus Central Schools in 1967 and Syracuse University Newhouse School of Communications with a bachelor’s degree in 1971. He worked at the Syracuse Herald-Journal and Post-Standard newspapers until his retirement, covering county politics and agriculture before spending the last 16 years of his career as the outdoor editor.


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A passionate writer, Kelly was proud of the fact that he was a 23-time first place winner of awards from the New York State Outdoor Writers Association’s annual M. Paul Keesler writing awards contest.

David Firgura, who succeeded Kelly at the Post-Standard upon his retirement, recently paid tribute to Kelly in NYSOWA’s spring newsletter.

“Whenever we spoke, he had good advice and words of encouragement for me as I negotiated CNY’s outdoors scene during my 14 years as the newspaper’s outdoors writer,” Figura said. “And yes, we did get together for some memorable fishing experiences. Mike had a huge impact on my career as an outdoors writer. He will be sorely missed.”

Kelly is survived by his wife of 53 years, Mary “Chickie,” as well as his two children, Sean and Brenn.