Meet Robert Kelly, LDAC's Lumber Person of the Year

Robert Kelly looks back on his years in the lumber industry with a philosophical approach.

The Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut honored their 2013 Lumber Person of the Year, Robert A. Kelly, at their 2013 Annual Banquet in November.

Kelly says it was a Wall Street Journal ad, promoting a lumberyard for sale, that first inspired him to join the industry and leave his government job during the Watergate era.

"Immediately, I had a vision of a horse-drawn wagon delivering rough-hewn beams to the docks and thought, 'That's for me,'" he told the LDAC.

Kelly purchased Torno Lumber and immediately encountered economic struggles when the oil crisis of 1973 hit, but thankfully, sales suddenly picked up before he fully formulated an exit strategy.

His philosophy is "to always do whatever my wife tells me to do" and to "laugh a lot and to think dirty thoughts ... I also believe that there will be plenty of time to rest and catch up on sleep after death."

Kelly also served in the U.S. Marine Corp. Reserve as an infantry officer in Vietnam, where he was wounded four times. He spent 30 years in the Economics Department at Fairfield University and is a member of the American Legion, the Purple Heart Society, the Second Marine Division Association, India 3-9 Association and Leathernecks of Connecticut. He has been a member of the NRLA and LDAC since 1973.

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