OGDENSBURG — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation sponsored by State Senator Patricia A. Ritchie R-Heuvelton and Assemblyman Mark C. Walczyk, R-Watertown, naming a portion of Route 37 in the town of Lisbon in honor of influential local journalist, Charles “Chuck” Kelly.
“Chuck Kelly lived an honorable life in service to his community, state and nation,” Governor Cuomo said in a press release from his office “By designating a portion of State Route 37 in Kelly’s name, we can ensure his life’s work is remembered for years to come.”
Mr. Kelly, the former editor and publisher of the Ogdensburg Journal and the Advance News, spent 56 years as a journalist, retiring in 2010. A lifelong resident of Ogdensburg, Kelly died in October 2018.
Mr. Kelly served the greater Ogdensburg community in many ways. Some of his civic duties included his positions as director and past-president of the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club, member of New York State, County and City Democratic Committees and member of the St. Lawrence County Cancer Society Board of Directors.
At his funeral, eulogist Thomas Luckie, director of the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club said, Mr. Kelly’s life was an example to others: dedicated to upholding the First Amendment, fighting to create and preserve jobs, and to helping those who were less fortunate.
“Naming a portion of Route 37 for Chuck Kelly is a very fitting honor,” John B. Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Newspaper Corp. said. “Chuck loved Ogdensburg and dedicated his life to improving it. Each time someone drives into the city, it is important that they remember his passion for making the city a better place.”
“The name Chuck Kelly is synonymous with Ogdensburg. As a beloved journalist and a tireless advocate for the north country, he dedicated his life to making our region a better place,” Mrs. Ritchie said “Chuck was a great friend and a true champion for the north country, as well as its people. By naming a portion of Route 37 in his honor, we ensure his legacy will never be forgotten.”
“Chuck Kelly was a newsman in every sense of the word — he was fair and honest in his reporting and held officials accountable. But, Chuck was more than just a reporter, he was a man that gave back each and every day to the community he loved so dearly. I’d like to thank the Governor for signing this bill into law, which renames a portion of State Route 37 in Chuck’s honor,” Mr. Walczyk said.
This is the first bill sponsored by Mr. Walczyk that has been signed into law.
The “Charles ‘Chuck’ Kelly Memorial Highway” will begin at the intersection of New York State Route 37 and New York Avenue in the City of Ogdensburg up to the intersection of New York State Route 37 and New York State Route 37-A.
Mr. Kelly was instrumental in efforts to locate new state correctional facilities in Ogdensburg, as well as successfully helping keep the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility from closing in 2011. He also fought alongside local leaders to prevent the closure of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in 2013. It was because of his strong advocacy for these facilities that Mrs. Ritchie and Mr. Walczyk specifically selected the portion of Route 37 that runs in front of them to be named after Mr. Kelly.