Kelly spent 50 years with the Philadelphia Bulletin, beginning at sixteen as a copyboy. For the last few years, he formed a rare father-and-son combination, covering the Phillies with Ray W. Kelly of the Camden (New Jersey) Post. Kelly was a semi-pro soccer player in the 1930s who once covered a game in which he scored the winning goal. In his story for the Bulletin he gave credit for the goal to another player. Following his retirement, he wrote for a weekly paper and did publicity for the Philadelphia Park racetrack.