Robert Eugene Jelley

Aged 90 of 73 Great Brook Road, Milford, NH passed away peacefully at his home on August 11, 2018 at 4 a.m., after a long struggle with COPD and a number of strokes in the last couple years of his life.

Robert was born in New York City on May 21st, 1928 to Hercules Eugene Jelley (d: 1988) and Genevieve (Hickey) Forstel Jelley Larson (d: 1985). They moved to Montreal, Canada in 1933, where his father set up and operated a mirroring glass factory and his mother frequently stepped in as the shop forewoman. He briefly attended Loyola College in Montreal before transferring to UCLA in California to finish out his Political Science degree.

Joining a fraternity in UCLA, he rose to become its president where he met Joyce Mason in the sorority next door. They got married in 1956 and soon afterwards, Robert passed the civil service exam and joined the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. His primary interest was trade and economics, and most of his diplomatic postings reflected that focus. During his career with the State Department, he was posted to South Vietnam, England, The Netherlands and Nigeria, with home tours in Washington, D.C.

Retiring from the State Department after completing his tour in Nigeria, he took a position with the Commerce Department and worked in Dallas, Texas and then in Boston, Massachusetts on trade policies, before he fully retired in the late 90’s and moved up to New Hampshire to be near family.

Retirement didn’t slow him down, however. He worked a part-time retail job with Filenes for a while, joined a bridge club, made rounds at the farmers’ markets, attended senior coffee meetings in Milford and frequently could be found in the Wadleigh Memorial library reading history books and magazines.

He is predeceased by his former wife, Joyce (Mason) Jelley in 2012, and is survived by three children: Derek Terveer and his wife, Linda of Eagan, MN, Deborah Jelley and her husband Paul Kenney of Hollis, NH and Vanessa Jelley-Gohl and her partner Paul Molloy of New Ipswich, NH. His only sibling, his half-sister Ann Hope (Forstel) Keddy passed away in 1986 but is likely survived by his niece Caroline Hope Keddy and nephew Cameron Keddy.

Memorial visiting hours and celebration of life for both our parents will be held at Smith & Heald Funeral Home at 63 Elm St., Milford, NH on August 23rd, 2018 from 3pm – 5pm. In lieu of flowers, please feel free to donate to the New England Paralyzed Veteran’s Association ( To share a memory or offer a condolence, please go to