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In no particular order, Jack Kelly Jr. is president of John B. Kelly, Inc., the brickwork company his dad founded; a Philadelphia city councilman-at-large; co-chairman of the Non-Partisan Register & Vote Campaign; director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum and the Paramount Life Insurance Company; member of the board of the Hero Scholarship Fund, Americans for the Competitive Enterprise System and the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen; president of the AAU; and brother of Princess Grace.
Kelly, who is 43, says that's not entirely true. He actually said no just the other day. He declined an offer to be the chairman of a fund-raising dinner for the National Jewish Hospital At Denver. He says the request wasn't as farfetched as it seemed. He had ridden by the hospital once on a skiing trip.
There were, of course, no ethnic implications in the refusal. In point of fact, the Philadelphia Athletic Club, where he works out, and of which he is, well, president, if you must pin it down—all right, and half-owner—is 80% Jewish. And he was chairman of the rowing committee at the Maccabiah Games and won the Philadelphia Zionist Award in 1964. "Actually, some of my best friends are Gentiles," says Kelly.
No, he says, he turned down the National Jewish Hospital because there was just too much on him now that he had accepted the responsibility of this AAU thing, and his mother was giving him a lot of heat because he wasn't spending enough time at the office.
Also, Kelly says, his mother was at a standing simmer over his active participation in Philadelphia night life, as limited as that is. Separated from his wife and six children for three years, Kelly was recently called a "playboy" by the mayor of Philadelphia in the public prints. His mother said he earned it.
One might say he earned the presidency of the AAU the hard way. In San Francisco last December, when he was elected, he showed up at the inaugural banquet at the Sheraton-Palace with a red, yellow and blue T shirt under his tuxedo and a plan. A column by Wells Twombly in the Examiner had characterized him as Clark Kent come to "save amateur athletics from Queen Victoria and Benjamin Disraeli"—the man to carry the AAU out of the 19th century, out of the darkness and into the light. Kelly had enjoyed the image. He does, in fact, look like Clark Kent.
At the moment of his introduction, Kelly ripped off his tuxedo jacket and dress shirt to reveal...Superman! A nervous twitter spread through the ballroom. "I tried to rent a telephone booth to put up on the rostrum," says Kelly, "but there wasn't time."
It was also late in the evening. The stories of Kelly's speech, prepared and distributed earlier, were already written and his theatrics went unrecorded.
Kelly's inauguration speech—he called it "No Guts, No Glory," after the mountain climbers' motto—was a compression of the heresies he had begun to espouse in the days before the election. (His election was supposed to have been a foregone conclusion. He was the first vice-president to Jesse Pardue, the outgoing president, and therefore next in line. But there was no clear-cut mandate. He could have blown it.) The speech has now become a continuing monologue, delivered in that prerecorded, take-a-letter-please voice of his, and he is prepared to extend it over the next two years or until there is no one left who hasn't heard it.