By Jack Barry
Morningside lost arguably its greatest administrator and life member with the passing of former President and Life Member Barry Kelly.
Barry’s legacy at Morningside will never be forgotten by those inside the club. A successful businessman who ran Downtown Toyota for over 25 years, he was a well respected figure in the community.
He joined the Panthers as a major sponsor in 1986 when former Melbourne player Barry Denny made his coaching debut. Who would have thought 25 years later that Downtown Toyota still supports the club as a major sponsor?
Barry was always on hand to offer advice to the club as he worked to establish his Toyota Franchise in Morningside, often employing players.
He quickly became a respected figure around the club and with his words of wisdom was already starting to influence the culture.
Despite being finals contenders every year since 1981, it would not be until 1991 that Morningside would reach the Grand Final under coach Martin King. In five QAFL Grand Finals the Downtown Toyota Panthers would win three premierships between 1991-1995.
Barry formed strong relationships with key personal like Ian Polglase, Warren Ledger and Michael Duke; people who would be at the forefront of change down the track.
With QAFL Clubs spending heavily on player wages, teams were starting to feel the pinch with some mergers and others falling back into the lower leagues.
Barry accepted the president’s role in the late 90’s and started making some tough decisions for the benefit of the club. Player Payments would be trimmed, local talent would be encouraged and promoted. It was the beginning of a new era, culminating with John Blair returning to the Panthers in 2002 and leading them to another 4 Premierships in 7 Grand Finals.
The local youth policy would see 15 Queenslanders/Morningside players get on AFL lists.
In his time at the club Barry saw his beloved Panthers win 7 QAFL Premierships and while he never played 1 game for Morningside, his death will go down as one of the clubs greatest losses.
His words of wisdom behind the scenes have done a lot to keep the football on track and to ensure cool heads prevailed times of crises.
The Morningside Football Club bestowed the honour of joint naming the clubs Best& Fairest in 2007 the Devery-Kelly Medal after the 1965 premiership coach Terry Devery and Barry Kelly.
Barry Kelly was a Morningside man, but most of all he was an excellent person, a wonderful family man and a leader in the community.
Away from football and business Barry enjoyed running his cattle farm at Rosewood in country Queensland.
Barry is survived by his wife Pauline, daughters Monica and Terri-Anne, son Patrick and 5 grand children.
His funeral will be at St Peters & Pauls on Friday at 10am.
Morningside F.C will wear black armbands in the Foxtel Cup game against Launceston at Metricon Stadium as a mark of respect.