George John Kelsey Jr. of Darien, died unexpectedly Sunday, Dec. 29 of natural causes at his new home in Vero Beach, Fla.

He was 78.

Son of the late George Sr. and Margaret Kelsey, he is survived by his loving wife Elisabeth “Lisa” Kelsey of Vero Beach, his sister Joan Kelsey Simonoff of Tustin, Calif., his son Gregory Kelsey of Brookfield and daughter Jennifer Kelsey of Fort Collins, Colo. His first wife, Carole and youngest son Matthew predeceased him. He is also survived by three nieces: Katherine Sage Gardocki, Susan Sage Simpson and Allison Sage Montroy; three grandchildren: Meredith Kelsey, Samuel Kelsey and Mazie Kirk and his very close and dear friend, Victoria Batha.

Mr. Kelsey, a Darien native, was a star athlete in his youth. He was captain of the Darien High School football team from 1952 to 1953 and played on the varsity baseball and basketball teams. In 1996, he was honored by the Darien Old Timers Athletic Association and received a citation from the Connecticut General Assembly in recognition of his outstanding athletic abilities as well as his participation in civic and community activities.

In 1953, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. and was on active duty in Philadelphia, Pa. until he was honorably released at age 21.

Upon returning to civilian life, Mr. Kelsey began a long and successful career in the plumbing business, working first for Flaherty Plumbing & Heating in Darien before starting his own business, Fairmead Plumbing & Heating, Inc. Mr. Kelsey ran the business until 1997, when he dissolved the company. After retiring from his plumbing career, he served as the dockmaster for the Darien Boat Club for many years, combining his love for fishing and boating with his effortless ability to both make and maintain lifelong friendships.

The family will receive friends at the Edward Lawrence Funeral Home, 2119 Post Road, Darien on Friday, Jan. 10 from 5 to 8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial in celebration of his life will be held at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church, 1986 Post Road, Darien on Saturday, Jan. 11 at 10 a.m.

Memorial donations may be made to Darien EMS - Post 53 and can be mailed to P.O. Box 2066, Darien, CT 06820.

More info: lawrencefuneralhome.com