Tennison Bros. Sheet Metal Company was founded in 1891 in Mt. Pleasant, Texas. The company manufactured sheet metal products such as roof ventilators, flues, flue jacks, rainproofs, stove pipes, water tanks, and other materials. In the early 1900s, the company went through a number of changes in ownership and location, and finally was sold to Edward Kelly in 1937. It was called Kelley Manufacturing Company and was based on Franklin St. in Houston until 1938, when it expanded to a former cotton warehouse in the 4900 block of Clinton Dr., Houston. A large office building was also built at that time. The product line enlarged also, including attic fans, floor furnaces, underground garbage containers and industrial stampings.
By 1941, Kelley Manufacturing employed approximately 150 people. When materials were needed to support the effort for World War II, Kelley Manufacturing produced tanks and shoulder carriers for chemical warfare, as well as porthole screens and scoops for naval ships.
In May 1946, Edward Kelley died at the age of 49. The company went on under the leadership of Mrs. E.W. Kelley as President and Mr. H. W. Brown as Exec. Vice-President. Mr. Brown resigned due to ill health in 1949. Various changes in leadership took place over the next ten years. In 1956, E.W. Kelley Jr., age 24, graduate of Rice Institute, moved to Dallas and joined the company in a sales position. In 1957, the company stopped selling to dealers and only sold to jobbers and distributors. Edward Kelley, Jr. took a two year leave of absence to attend Harvard Business School, and returned to the company in June 1959, when Kelley Manufacturing was at a very low ebb. A complete change of management took place at that time.
Edward Kelley Jr. served as President and CEO of Kelley Industries Inc. from 1959-1981. Under his leadership the company flourished, diversifying its product lines, acquiring other companies such as Covey Corporation. In November 1970, Kelley Industries was formed as a holding company for Kelley Manufacturing and Covey Corporation. In 1971, Kelley Data Systems Company was added and Chattanooga Wheelbarrow Company was acquired. The company was sold in 1981.
Excerpted from original source material in Box 1 folder 1 of these records.
Kelley graduated from Rice in 1954 and earned an MBA degree from Harvard in 1959. He had been on the Rice University Board of Governors for a decade, he had managed his family's business, Kelley Industries, Inc., for more than 20 years and was chairman of an investment group. In 1987, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as a member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System.
As a condition of his appointment, Kelley had to resign from other boards, including his lifetime appointment to the Rice board. In his 10 years of service as a governor and then trustee to for Rice between 1977 and 1987, Kelley played a significant role in the university's growth. He was on the buildings and grounds committee that oversaw the construction of several buildings such as the Mudd Building, Herring Hall, Ley Student Center, and Alice Pratt Brown Hall. He chaired a task group that prepared the university's long-range plan for the 1980s and beyond, and was a member of the search committee that chose George Rupp as the fifth president of Rice.
Even before he was on the Rice board, Kelley was active in the university's development. In the early 1960s, he was on a committee that wrote the prospectus for the creation of the Jones Business School. Helping others has been a goal throughout his life. "I have always tried to make time for a very substantial amount of public service work as part of my career," Kelley explained. "And why did I pick Rice? Because Rice has always been in my blood." His mother, Allie May Autry, graduated from Rice in 1925 and his uncle, James L. Autry, graduated in 1922. Autry Court and the Autry House are named in the family's honor. Kelley's first wife, the late Ellen Elizardi, belonged to the class of 1955. His present wife, Janet Haase Kelley, was an administrator at Rice during the 1970s.
Kelley was born in Eugene, Ore., but he grew up a few blocks from the Rice campus, where he rode his bike and watched football games in the old stadium. He majored in American history, went to Harvard, served two years in the Navy, and then came back to Houston to become the chief executive officer of Kelley Industries, Inc. When the company was sold in 1981, Kelley started working in the investment business and became chairman of the Board of Investment Advisors, Inc.
In 1995, Kelley was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by the The Association of Rice Alumni.
Excerpted from Rice News, May 11, 1995, http://www.media.rice.edu/media/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=6258&SnID=2.