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On May 8, Helena lost a native son, and Montana—and the rest of the world—lost an adventurous and gentle spirit. Joseph Patrick Kiely was born in Helena on April 9, 1952, to Andy and Kathryn “Kay” Deloughery Kiely. Joe (as he was affectionately known to all who knew him) passed away in Ajo, Arizona, after an extended trip exploring the wonders and beauty of the southwest.

An avid hiker, backpacker, rafter, and skier, Joe reveled in all that Big Sky Country had to offer. His love for Montana, its terrain, and its people, ran deep. His love of local hikes inspired him to complete all of the trails in the South Hills, as well as the Mt. Helena area. A pillar of the Helena community, he was a strong supporter of the arts with interests ranging from ceramics, to Native American, to Cuban. If he wasn’t on a trail or camping, he could be found enjoying the works of potters at the Archie Bray, exhibits at the Holter Museum, or an event at the Myrna Loy Theater.

Joe is survived by his children, Lily Kiely and Sean Kiely. His children brought him so much joy and pride, and his love of the outdoors lives on in them. He will be sorely missed by his siblings, Mike Kiely (Sue Connell), Kathy Kiely McDonald (Ron), and Dan Kiely (DeeDee), as well as his nieces and nephews Annie Kiely Kremer (Michael), Thomas Kiely, Andy (Britt), Joe (Caitlin), and Liz McDonald, Michael Jessica and Abby Kiely, Kyle, Brittney (Steve), and Liz Tatchell.

Joe’s vibrant personality will be remembered by his family and multitude of friends for his kindness, generosity, humor, and expansive heart. Joe never met a stranger and had an uncanny ability to touch all those fortunate enough to cross paths with him.

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A memorial service will be held at a later date, details of which can be found at

the life of: Kiely, Joseph Patrick
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