Simon R.A. Kelly (1949–2023)
On June 16th, 2023, CASP staff present and past gathered to pay their final respects to our dear friend and colleague Simon Kelly, who passed away on the 19th of May. Those who had the privilege to accompany Simon on fieldwork will have seen him in his element; he was an excellent field geologist and tireless collector of data and fossils. Simon’s enthusiasm for his research, his cheerful and affable personality, and his consideration towards people of all kinds made him a wonderful presence. Professionally, Simon will be remembered for his significant contributions to Mesozoic biostratigraphy, especially of East Greenland, as well as to the taxonomy and nomenclature of Jurassic and Cretaceous bivalves.
Simon’s association with CASP started in 1984, when he joined the then named Cambridge Arctic Shelf Programme as a research palaeontologist and curator of the rock collections. Between 1988 and 1994, Simon switched poles to work for the British Antarctic Survey as a palaeontologist, before returning to CASP in much the same capacity as before, where he contributed to nearly 100 scientific reports and 60 journal articles and book sections. Toward the end of his career, Simon played an integral part in planning and overseeing the completion of a new rock store to house CASP’s internationally important sample collection. His last task before retirement was to oversee the safe transfer of the rock collections during the late summer of 2020, in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic. As Simon was personally responsible for collecting more than 11,000 fossil and rock samples in the CASP collection, it is rather fitting that the building now bears his name – the Simon RA Kelly Rock Store.
Simon loved the polar regions and conducted numerous field seasons to Svalbard, the Antarctic Peninsula, Arctic Canada and his ‘second home’, East Greenland. For his outstanding contribution to Arctic and Antarctic palaeontology, Simon was awarded a Polar Medal in 2000, and a prestigious second clasp to his medal in the 2023 New Year Honours list.
His expert knowledge and jovial personality will be missed in equal measure by all at CASP.
28 June 2023