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Kelley was a warrior for Haley Farm cause

John J. Kelley was an English teacher at Fitch Senior High School in 1964 when efforts began to save the Haley Farm property. He served on the board of the Groton Open Space Association (GOSA) from 1969 to 1983. He started a conservation club with his students from English class as well as the runners in the sports program.

Supporters held the big opening rally of the "Save the Haley Farm" campaign at Fitch. Members of the conservation club acted as guides to take people on tours of the farm property. They all knew it well, since most of them ran it in training sessions as well as in competitions held at Haley Farm. Kelley's articles in local papers supported GOSA's efforts.

With Johnny spurring them on, all involved did a fine job and their efforts, along with that of many individuals and other organizations, helped surpass the fundraising goal of $50,000 (a lot of money in 1969). The Haley Farm State Park was saved in 1970 with the state picking up the remainder of the tab.

The cross-country runners still have that beautiful park today due in large part to Johnny Kelley. Those who knew Johnny will miss a good friend who was quite the warrior.

Editor's note: The author was one of GOSA's founders and first president until 1982. She is now vice president.

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