Longtime Palm Desert City councilman Dick Kelly died last Friday.
The council met for the first time Thursday since his death.
Kelly’s replacement on the council is still up in the air. But his wife of 65 years said her husband would want it to be her.
Widow Mary Helen Kelly agreed. But she said that when the council begins mulling over a replacement, she hopes she receives strong consideration.
“He and I talked about this after we found out that he wasn’t going to be able to live and he was supportive of it,” she said.
A moment of silence preceded the first city council meeting since Mr. Kelly’s death last week.
Council members bowed their heads in remembrance of a man first elected to the city council in 1982.
He also served as mayor six times.
“His most important thought was for the citizens and what he could do for them,” said Kelly. “That was him, and he was the same with his family.”
Mary Helen thanked the public and city council for their outpouring of support through the difficult time.
All while a white rose and green carnation were placed near the seat in which her husband sat for decades.
“He was a wonderful, gentle, kind man,” said Kelly.
Mayor Finerty said Palm Desert lost a great man in Kelly.
“But we’ve also lost Carlos Ortega and Roy Wilson in a year,” she explained. “It’s very hard to lose that much talent.”
She said it will be even more difficult to find a replacement.
“I would suspect that there would be an appointment,” said Finerty. “I don’t see us spending the money for a special election.”
But that is an option, according to the mayor.
The tentative deadline for the council to announce an appointment is Sept. 20, according to the mayor.
The council could chose who they wish. There are no specific requirements or guidelines in selecting a replacement.
Dick Kelly’s term ends in 2012.
“It’s up to the council to make the decision and I’m sure they will weigh all of the candidates who put forth their names, and they’ll come up with a wise decision,” said Kelly.
“For our Christmas party, we went to the Living Desert. and even at 86-years-old, he got on the animal and we were just bound and determined to make that happen,” said Finerty, pointing at a picture she took with Kelly. “The carousel was going to close and we had a wonderful time. Obviously, I’ll be cherishing this picture.”
Dick Kelly’s private funeral will take place next Thursday.
A memorial service in Dick Kelly’s honor will be held on Sat. September 4, at 10 a.m.
It will take place at the Palm Desert Community Presbyterian Church on Highway 74.
The public is invited to that ceremony.