Born in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, Kelly received a B.S. from Villanova University in 1957 and an LL.B. from Temple University School of Law in 1960. He was in private practice in Media, Pennsylvania from 1961 to 1962. He was in private practice in Chester, Pennsylvania from 1962 to 1964. He was in private practice in Media, Pennsylvania from 1964 to 1976. He was a Clerk, Hon. Francis J. Catania, Court of Common Pleas, Delaware County, PA from 1964 to 1972. He was a Prothonotary of Delaware County, Pennsylvania from 1972 to 1976. He was a Chairman, Delaware County Republican Executive Committee from 1972 to 1985. He was a judge on the Court of Common Pleas, 32nd Judicial District of Pennsylvania from 1976 to 1987.