Meet this week’s “Special Person of the Week:Former Somerville Mayor, Dorothy Kelly Gay

Dorothy Kelly Gay, a wonderful person with a heart of gold who is always there to lend a helping hand to a fellow Somervillian!

The 34th Mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts

In office

May 21, 1999 – January 5, 2004.

Preceded by William M. Roche (acting) mayor and succeeded by Joseph Curtatone.

Member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council for the 6th District

In office


Preceded by Daniel G. Hurley

and succeeded by Michael J. Callahan.

Born in Ballinasloe, County Ireland.

Her alma mater is Mayday Hospital School of Nursing as a registered nurse administrative coordinator of Nursing.

Her father was a politician, nurse and union activist. She graduated from Newtown National School, Convent of Mercy Secondary School, and Ballinasloe Technical School. In 1961 she moved to England to pursue a career in nursing. She graduated from the Mayday Hospital School of Nursing in Surrey in 1964.

In the early 1960s she met Bertram Gay in London. The couple later married and in 1968 they immigrated to the United States because their child needed a surgery that was only available at the Boston Children’s Hospital.

They settled in Somerville and the couple soon found employment, with Gay getting hired at Somerville’s Heritage Hospital. She continued to work as a nurse until 1999.

In 1986, Kelly Gay was appointed to the Somerville School Committee.

She was elected to a full term ten months later. In 1992 Gay was elected to the Massachusetts Governor’s Council in the 6th District. In 1998 she ran for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. Gay lost in the Democratic primary to State Senator Warren Tolman 270,791 (54%) votes to 232,250 (46%).

In 1999, Gay was elected Mayor of Somerville in a special election to succeed Michael Capuano, who was elected to the United States House of Representatives.

She defeated Alderman John Buonomo 6878 votes to 6473.

She ran for a full term later that year and was elected unopposed and served as mayor to 2004.

We here at the Somerville News Weekly salute you for everything that you do to make Somerville a better place.


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