Julian D. Kelly, Jr., MD

Class Year




Posted on: March 8, 2021

Dr. Julian Dantzler Kelly, Jr., beloved husband of Carolyn Martin Kelly, died peacefully at home with his family by his side on February 13, 2021.

A lifelong resident of Savannah, he was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, July 26, 1933, the only child of the late Julian Dantzler Kelly, Sr. and Ola Jo Johnston Kelly, both from Monroe, Georgia.

Dr. Kelly attended Savannah High, graduated from Episcopal High School in Virginia, Princeton University, and the University of Virginia Medical School. He received a commission in the U.S. Air Force as a Flight Surgeon, retiring as a Captain. After his military service he attended the Duke University Medical School Residency Program, becoming a member of the Piedmont Orthopedic Society upon his completion.

Returning to Savannah to start his practice, he volunteered one day a week at the Chatham County Cripple Children’s Clinic. He practiced orthopedic surgery for 35 years, seeing patients at Memorial Hospital, Candler Hospital, and in private practice until his retirement.

His primary avocation, grounded in his love of family, centered on his avid interest in genealogy where he imparted his incisive intellect and curious, unrelenting vigor to trace family connections through centuries of murky records, and even searches of abandoned cemeteries during his travels. This love of genealogy resulted in being substantially involved in many hereditary societies including First Families of Georgia, The Sons of the Revolution, The Society of Colonial Wars, The Sons of the American Revolution, the Military Order of Stars and Bars, the Scottish Heritage Society, The Plantagenet Society, the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem Knights Hospitaller, and The Somerset Chapter Magna Charta Barons.

As a young boy, going to their Tybee Beach house with his family, he discovered his love of the natural world, which steered him to wanting to know everything about Georgia’s flora and fauna. This led him to a lifelong pursuit of collecting prints of ancient Georgia coastal maps, and of the birds and plants that fascinated him. He even put his deft surgeon’s hands to carving and painting the many shorebirds he had observed over the years.

His love of names and named places was met with his curiosity and great desire to learn everything he could about the history of Savannah and all of Georgia. His fascination with Pennyworth Island came early in life as his father and several other gentlemen had acquired it during the mid 1940s. After years of stewardship and research, Dr. Kelly and his partners were happy to deed Pennyworth Island to the National Park Service, having put it on the National Register of Historic Places.

He made many lifelong friends throughout the years, and had the opportunity to share good fellowship with them at The Oglethorpe Club of Savannah, the Cotillion Club, The Savannah Yacht Club, and the Rumpsteak Club, of which he was a founding and lifelong member. He was a lifetime member of Christ Episcopal Church. He remarked often that one of the things he admired most about his father was how kind he was to everyone he met, a trait that Dr. Kelly also practiced throughout his lifetime. He was a consummate gentleman.

He found 41 years of happiness with his wife, and best friend, Carolyn. They simply had the best of times together. Dr. Kelly is survived by his sons, Raburn Blanc Monroe Kelly, and Julian Dantzler Kelly, III; his daughter, Julia Johnston Kelly Rodgers; Carolyn’s sons William James Martin Victor and wife Gabrielle, and Frederic Ward Victor; Monroe’s daughter Emmaline Blanc Monroe Kelly; Julia’s daughter Eleanor Allgood Rodgers; and Frederic’s children Maggie Victor and Henry Victor.

Burial will be private in the Greenwich Cemetery. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to: Christ Episcopal Church, 28 Bull Street, Savannah, Georgia.