Las Vegas bid a fond farewell to Allan Matthew Kelly, 81, longtime tavern owner and native to our fair city. Allan's history here began with his father Mathew Kelly's arrival to Vegas from Scotland in 1911. His mother, Elizabeth Kelly, also of Scotland, joined Matt here in 1922. Allan's sister "Dinny" was their firstborn in 1924. Her birth name was Dynusa, naming her for a brother in the old country and also for the USA. Matt and Liz were extremely proud to be citizens of the United States of America and wanted that reflected in their firstborn's name. Matt Kelly was a self-taught musician and starting in the 1920's gave music lessons to children after school in the basement of the Fifth Street Grammar School. He formed Las Vegas' first elementary school band. The Matt Kelly School was named for him in 1961 for his musical dedication to the students of Las Vegas.
Allan was born in 1930, during the depression and prohibition. Gaming wasn't even legal in Las Vegas at the time. As a child he would ride his bike to go fishing and hunting in what is now our Spring's Preserve. In 1940 Allan was one of just a few survivors of a large propane explosion that killed 16 people. He missed a year of school due to his extensive injuries. Making nationwide news, the explosion occurred when a neighboring family bought and brought into the neighborhood a propane truck to create a small business. At the time, laws and regulations were not on the books to forbid such trucks from being parked in neighborhoods. Laws changed due to this horrific incident.
Las Vegas was such a small town during Allan's younger years that when he turned fifteen, his mother took him to the DMV office and told the department that he was 16. A parent's word was good enough and from that day forward Allan had his driver's license. Being from the 'old country', Mr. & Mrs. Kelly never learned to drive and depended on their two children to assist them with the modern convenience of automobile operation. This one year discrepancy in Allan's age would not become a problem until he turned 65, or at least when medicare and social security thought he turned 65!
Allan attended Las Vegas High School and was a member of the school's Art Guild, he graduated in 1949. He was a founding lifetime member of the LVHS Alumni Assoc. and attended the annual reunions faithfully to enjoy the company of his fellow alumni in remembering small town Las Vegas.
From 1950 through 1954, during the Korean War, Allan was enlisted in the U.S. Navy serving within the VJ61 Photo Squadron.
Allan worked throughout his high school years and after his military service for Gilbert's Market (CVT Gilbert). Learning various areas of the business, he had his best memories and learning experience within the butcher and liquor departments. It was during these times that he knew that he wanted to become a bar and liquor store owner.
Christmas Eve of 1954 Allan met the love of his life, Charlotte Mugleston. They married August 12, 1955 and had 3 children, Matthew, Laurie and Patrick. As a couple they always had a common goal, working hard and sacrificing much to create their dreams together. As a family, they always made time for camping, fishing and enjoying the rich history of our Nevada ghost towns. Allan was proud of his heritage here in Las Vegas, Nevada and shared his knowledge of this fine region with everyone he cared about.
In 1960, Allan and Charlotte opened their first beer bar and liquor store, Kelly's Liquors. It was right next door to the Moulin Rouge and was one of the few desegregated bars in Las Vegas at the time. In 1965 they opened The Trap House, named for Al's love for the sport of trapshooting. At the time, The Trap House was on the outskirts of town, Jones and the 95expressway. Due to city growth, The Trap House closed its doors in 2003 after 38 wonderful years to make way for freeway expansion. It was relocated and renamed Kelly's Kasino II. Kelly's Kasino I opened its doors in 1992 at the corner of Oakey and Western.
'Kelly' was the first bar owner to employ females as bartenders in the city of Las Vegas. He was also the first to pour Miller Lite on draft in 1974. Al was loved and respected within the business community and by all of his loyal employees. His establishments have always been and will remain comfortable, welcoming places where patrons are greeted with a smile and everyone knows your name.
For decades, Al and Char, as their friends would refer to them, would spend their weekends at their 2nd home at Callville Bay, Lake Mead to enjoy boating with their family and friends. For many of those years they were active members of the Lake Mead Yacht Club.
In retirement, Allan and Charlotte traveled each summer in their RV visiting relatives and annually attending major trap shoots in the northwest. He was a 41 year member of the Shoshone Indians Trap Org. in Pocatello, ID, a 10 year member of the Pacific Indians Trap Org. in Olympia, WA and attended the annual Las Vegas All Indians Trap Shoot. He was also a past president and lifetime member of the Nevada Amateur Trapshooting Assoc. of America and earned the Nevada State Champion Trapshooter award in 1972. Allan remained active within trapshooting until a few months ago.
Allan was a 50 year member of the Elks Club and a founding member of the Southwest Rotary Club and was club president 1968-69. He was also a member of the Nevada Tavern Owner's Assoc. and since 1994, a founding member of the VJ61Naval Photo Squadron Assoc., treasurer.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Charlotte, three children Matthew Kelly (Barbara), Laurie Kelly (Martin Hoenisch) and Patrick Kelly and two grandchildren Matthew Kelly, Jr. and Jacob Kelly.
Services will be private. A celebration of life will be held for Allan at Kelly's Kasino II, 5855 W. Craig Rd. at Jones Bl. on Saturday, May 5 from 12 noon to 6p.m.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers that donations be made in Allan's name to the Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation, TheBurnFoundation.org
Arrangements under the direction of:
Palm Northwest Mortuary and Cemetery
6701 North Jones Blvd | Las Vegas, NV 89131 | (702) 464-8460