Icon Icon
Pilots N Paws

Remembering Tony Kelly

Share This Story!

One of our volunteer pilots lost his life in a plane crash in New Jersey.



Tony Kelly shared his passion for aviation in a variety of ways.  He was, of course, active in the Pilots N Paws community.  He was also an air traffic controller and may well have helped a few pilots with their furry cargo through his airspace.  He was generous with his knowledge of what happens on the other side of the radar scope.

Arriving at Airventure in Oshkosh, WI

Arriving at Airventure in Oshkosh, WI with his wife

Tony left us early at just 43. During the dash (1970 – 2013), Tony made the best of the time he had including helping out some innocent animals and flying them to where their new hope awaited.  If you worked with TKATC on the forum, you were a recipient of his generosity.  Many more would certainly have benefited if he had some more time.  His family knew how much he cared for the work done by Pilots N Paws, demonstrated by the fact they asked donations be made to the organization in Tony’s honor.

Living the dash

Living the dash

A friend shared these words, “For those who never met the guy, this is probably the best way to remember him; a well-rounded, funny guy who accepted folks immediately and with a smile.”


Our most heart-felt condolences to his wife, son, family, and friends.  Tony, you will be missed.

If you would care to share your memories with the family, you can do so here.  

39 thoughts on “Remembering Tony Kelly”

  1. Rick G says:

    As a volunteer pilot based in NC I worked with Tony on his first PnP rescue flight. Thoughts are with Amy and his family.

  2. Rebecca Burcham says:

    God Bless Him! Oh, if only we had so many more like him on this earth- with his passion, his dedication, and his love- what a wonderful world this would be. I adore working with PNP and admire the many, many pilots who give their time, their financial support, and their love for our four-legged friends who need our help. I didn’t know Tony but working with so many pilots, I do know him. I know his spirit, and that will live on!

  3. Kim Boggs says:

    Thank you for remembering Tony. Our thoughts are with his family.

  4. TerryLynne Ramsey says:

    I am so sorry to hear this sad news. I did not know Tony but I am familiar with Pilots N Paws. I am now the proud mama of a rescue that was flown from GA to NC where I drove to meet them ( I am in VA.)
    My thoughts and prayers to Tony’s family and his Pilots N Paws family as well. I am sure he will be missed by many he sounds like a wonderful man. May you feel God’s loving arms around you.

  5. Donna says:

    So sorry for your loss,never had the pleasure of meeting Tomy,but from one rescuer to another Thank You for all you did in your short time here.God Bless you,sending you all my thoughts and prayers.

  6. arleen paul says:

    i am so sorry to hear of the untimely loss of such a great man. Condolences to his family and all of his many friends. i am sure that when Tony crossed the Rainbow Bridge he was greeted and escorted to Heaven by lots of furry friends who knew that he rescued their brothers and sisters (and maybe them)with his flights to freedom….
    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

    Author unknown…

  7. Carol says:

    So very sorry to hear this. Thank you Tony for everything you did for the four footed kids. I am positive that you were surrounded by all of our fur kids who have gone on before for you are their Angel. Praying for the family to find comfort going forward

  8. Karen Candee says:

    So very sorry for your loss.

  9. Suzy H. says:

    Prayers going out to Tony’s family and those who loved him. Thank you Tony for all you did to help those furkids getting where they needed to go so they could have a happy life with a new family.

  10. Brenda rotramble says:

    Thanks for letting us know about Tony. He was a hero.

  11. Kathy says:

    My deep condolences to his wife, son, family and friends. He will be deeply blessed for saving the lives of so many fur babies.

  12. Rebecca Merriman says:

    as I fellow pilot and a rescue advocate, I applaud Tony’s commitment in doing what he loved in rescue and flying. There are so many risks when taking to the skies and Tony knew them. And yet it seems he shared his passions liberally both in the sky and on the ground. Sincere condolences to his family, to the Pilots n Paws family and the families of all the pets he saved. RIP Tony. I wish I could’ve known you.

  13. Fran Lee says:

    So sorry for your loss. Sending prayers to his loved ones.

  14. Lois says:

    Very sad to lose such a great man. My sympathy to his family.

  15. Edie Miller Swingle Neil says:

    You are appreciated for each rescue and will be missed!

  16. Laura says:

    No doubt he be welcomed with open arms when he arrives to Heaven…….

  17. Debbie Kowalchuk says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to all of his family and friends. He will truly be missed. THANK YOU for everything that you did for the animals.

  18. James says:

    RIP Tony. You did amazing work by being the voice of the voiceless. So many lives were saved because of you and these homeless animals have found comfort, safety and love with their new families, instead of being chained and abused on a daily basis.

    You made a big difference. Thank you.

  19. Annie Ubeda says:

    My heartfelt condolences to his family and all the pilots. I went through this experience at 14 when I lost my father, and know first hand, how it feels. For me it was yesterday. Always in our hearts. God bless him and his family. Thanks for the great job you did to better the animals life.You were always close to God, now you are in his arms, to never leave HIM again.

  20. Marianne Wiltzius says:

    Condolences to Mr. Kelly’s family and his fellow pilots at Pilots n Paws. He will missed .

  21. Elizabeth Castigliego says:

    Soo sorry to hear when we loose one of the good guys! So sorry for your loss!

  22. Craig says:

    I never met Tony but IBM all accounts he was a kind and dedicated man. My thoughts go to him and his family and I am sure he will be met with wagging tails

  23. cay murphy says:

    Our hearts go out to Tony’s family, for your loss. And for the loss of a man who was willing to reach out to help the suffering animals and others . With a open heart and mind ,he carried these unfortunate souls, to a new life, giving them a chance ,to feel Love for the first time .His gifts helped heal many of hearts. Tony , thank You for your love and healing heart, we will all miss you.

  24. Kari Coble says:

    I would like to say how much I appreciate your family sharing your precious time with Tony. His involvement in the Pilots N Paws Organization can never be replaced. “Only the good die young.” And, he was a GREAT man! So sorry for your loss.

  25. Kari says:

    RIP Special man.

  26. Susan says:

    I am so very sorry to hear this sad news. My thoughts and prayers to his family.

  27. John Tobin says:

    RIP, Thank you for your service to all the pets you helped save, The Rainbow Bridge will be busy welcoming you.

  28. Ellen says:

    My condolences and prayers are with Tony’s family and friends. What a sad, sad day this is.

  29. Deborah D says:

    RIP Tony. Your flight now will be the most glorious. Thank you for your dedication to Pilots N Paws. Condolences to your family. We will never forget you!

  30. I am truly sorry for the loss of this mans life.
    Truly a remarkable soul and a heart of gold!
    We salute you for your love of animals, your
    Family and your unconditional service to help
    Others. Thank You so much for your devotion
    Love and kindness!

  31. ginger gamble says:

    Such a tragic loss of precious life…
    My heart goes out to his family & friends.

  32. tina drum says:


  33. Betty Schueler says:

    My sincere condolences to his family and friends. He will be sorely missed in the rescue world. Every pilot, who flies animals to their new homes, is a treasure that is priceless. Tony’s life was short but it meant the world to many people and animals.

  34. Bryan Baker says:

    Godspeed Tony.

  35. Ursula says:

    God bless Tony for all his generous & kind deeds he performed on earth, especially for all the furry angels he saved! God bless him & grant him eternal peace!

  36. Pauline (Kelly) McCloskey says:

    Thank you all for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers for Tony’s family and friends. This is a very difficult time for us all. Keep doing what you do for all God’s furry friends, they need you very much, and we need them. Thank you,
    Tony’s Mom.

  37. Leslie says:

    My thoughts and prayers to Tony’s family. What a special person. Thank you Tony for your beautiful contribution to this world. God Bless You.

  38. sean kelly says:

    I want to thank everyone for all they have done for my family in my brothers name. It is very comforting to know that he was so loved by so many people.

    Sean Kelly
    Tony’s brother

Comments are closed.