A Tale of Two Sisters …

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11 Responses

  1. Cliff Somers says:

    Greg, I do remember those accidents, my sisters were very close in age. I can’t conceive what this would have done to my family. God Bless!

  2. Bonnie Ambrosia says:

    Greg, this was such heartfelt writing about your beloved sisters and your family, and your sisters, Claire and Alice. I remember Claire and Alice from RBC, very well! They knew everyone in the school and we all knew the Kelly family. Claire and Alice were fun, funny, pretty and smart. They both had great smiles and beautiful shiny dark hair and were friendly to all.

    I remember hearing of the accidents within a year’s time, and feeling heartbroken for your entire family. In 1972 our family lost our oldest brother to a construction accident after Donnie just turned 27. I was 21. As your family, this tragedy redirected our lives, sometimes teaching us about life, sometimes suffering from the loss of life. Like you, the agony and pain the parents had to endure, while raising the other children, was most unbearable.

    Back then, the plan was to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. They didn’t have the support systems in place, as we have now. Thank you for sharing and please know that Claire and Alice are not forgotten. When I spend time with our former fellow Red Bank Catholic classmates, the names of Alice and Claire Kelly come up, with great memories and laughter. They were beautiful young women, in so many ways.

    Love to all the Kelly family! I’m sure if we saw your children and your sibling’s children, we would ‘see’ the faces of your beloved sisters. Life does go on, but we always carry the ones we left behind, in our hearts.

    • Monica Maher Junger says:

      Bonnie, my brother posted this and initially I didn’t recognize the names but decided to read the article. First I remembered the accidents and then I remembered the girls. And I thank you for your beautiful post and making me remember both the girls and I did not know about your brother then. Thanks again.

  3. Susan Belon says:

    I lived only a couple doors away and was probably 6 or 7 at the time. Claire, Alice and Mary Reaves were all about 12 or 14. I didn’t have anyone to play with so the 3 of them would let me tag along. How sweet and kind they were. It lasted a couple of weeks but I will never forget it.

  4. sharon hazard says:

    What a beautiful memorial to your sisters. I was in Claire’s class at Star of the Sea Academy. We were best friends and called ourselves “sisterbelles.” She also had a nickname for your mother, “mommaleskalu.” Hope I spelled that right, but that’s how she pronounced it.

    We loved the girls’ sleepovers at the big house. I remember how impressed we were when Claire and Alice opened boxes sent from Best and Company in New York City and took out matching Christmas outfits. Pink velvet pants and tops. Very chic for the 1960s.

    I went to Red Bank Catholic, too, but Claire and I went our separate ways, but whenever I saw her in the halls, I couldn’t help but smile, remembering our days at the Academy. Our 5th grade teacher, Sister Ann Noreen knew that Claire and I were best friends and encouraged us to read books together. We read Jane Eyre, of all things. Our group included, me, Sharon Williams (now Hazard), Kit Faust, Susan Maloney and Eileen Desmond.

    I can still see the mysterious balcony that connected the two wings of your beautiful home on Club Circle.

  5. Mary Sundermeyer DeRosa says:


    What a wonderful tribute to your sisters. I graduated from RBC with Claire. We did not travel in the same circles in school so I did not know her well. I was working at Riverview when I heard about her death.

    I remember both your father and Dr. Sheehan walking in a daze around the halls afterward. I knew your sister Alice from working at RMC also. I knew her as a very dedicated individual who took the utmost care of her patients.

    The hospital was once again crushed by her loss. My parents are at the top of the hill from your family’s grave site at Mt. Olivet. So when I visit them I always drive by the Kelly monument and say a prayer.

    So sorry for your great loss.

  6. Greg your story is heart wrenching. I was 19 and working at Riverview when both of the accidents took place. I was also the neighbor and grew up with the two guys in the car that Claire was in.

    That accident haunted me for many years and also working at Riverview I knew your dad and your uncle and it was so evident in there faces the pain they were going through. I’m so sorry what you went through at such a young age.

    God Bless you and your family.

  7. Bebe Jones Smith says:

    Greg, I had moved away from Monmouth Beach by the time Claire and Alice graduated from high school. They were very dear to me; once in awhile I came to babysit for them and as you know, our mothers were best friends. My daughters are named Jessica Claire and Katherine Alicia for your sisters.

  8. Matt Sheprow says:

    Sadly, I remember this tragic time well, and the photos bring it all back into focus.

    The Kelly’s, along with ours, were one of a few large families to move to Monmouth Beach in that time. My sister attended the Academy with your sisters, then RBC for a while, and the boys went to Star of the Sea Lyceum then CBA (with your cousins, who later had their own story to tell).

    The shock of the first and the devastation of the second, words could never describe. I hope your family is doing well and has been made stronger, a strength I can not even imagine.

    God bless you all.

  9. Gigi (Hinck) Hager says:

    Greg our families were always close. As large Irish Catholic families from the ti-state area there were relationships our parents had or our extended family members had with each other dating back to their grammar schools, high schools or college years.

    It was kind of kismet that the Kellys, Murphys, Sheehans, Hoags, Hincks and many more all ended up in the little communities of Monmouth Beach and Rumson.

    We/I loved your entire family and still do. I was close to Alice in high school even though she was two years older then me. We had great times sitting on the beach in Monmouth Beach and driving around in her Woody Station Wagon the summer of 1972 or 1973 not quite sure the exact date, but we had a lot of fun that year!

    I miss our childhood days in Monmouth Beach before the tragedy of the accidents that changed somethings for ever.

    This article was very bitter/sweet. I feel strongly that you should continue this family story. I for one would love to read more. You are a gifted writer.

    My best,
    Gigi (Hinck) Hager

  10. Terri Mahon Calabrese says:

    Beautiful writing. I knew your sister, Claire. We ran track together. Always was a pleasure. You have written a fine tribute.

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