Personal life

Kelly married Gladys Thompson in 1931, who remained devoted to him throughout many moves. The year following his death, Kelly's wife assisted in locating many of his manuscripts and encouraged their publication. The couple had two children: a daughter, Jacqueline; and a son, Joseph Vincent. At the time of his death, his daughter was married to George Edward Sharples. In his introduction to his book, Maher closed his biography of Kelly noting that, "More than most psychologists, perhaps, George Kelly's papers are themselves an autobiography of the man. In them, the reader will find the warmth, humor, and tolerance that characterized him so well to those who knew him best."

Perhaps Kelly was best characterized by his own words, his reflections on the human condition. Kelly recalled his experience in western Kansas during the Depression and how his psychology emerged.

So I listened to people in trouble and I tried to help them figure out what they could do about it. None of the things I had studied or pursued in the years before seemed to have any very specific bearing on what confronted us, though at one time or another through this period I probably attempted to make some use of everything I knew.

His approach to life was his approach to his work, and to helping people in a simple, straightforward manner.

In western Kansas when a person came to me, we were pretty much stuck with each other. Our job was to figure out what the two of us could do ourselves. Now that I look back on it this was an open invitation to approach psychology from an unconventional angle. And that is what I am afraid I did.

Kelly died unexpectedly while in the process of completing a new book, in addition to organizing the many papers he had delivered throughout the last decade of his career.

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