Alasdair R. Kellie

March 24th, 1945September 7th, 2016

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Associate Director Al Kellie, died on Wednesday, September 7, 2016, at the Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville. He was 71.

He was born Alasdair Robert Kellie on March 24, 1945 in Brandon, Manitoba, the son of Charlotte Edna (Murchie) and Angus Kellie. He grew up, and received his early education, in Brandon.

Al went on to receive his B.Sc. from the University of Manitoba in Science, with postgraduate work for an M. Sc. from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Prior to coming to NCAR in 1998, he spent more than 30 years with Environment Canada’s Meteorological Services of Canada (MSC), with the last 7 of those in managing the supercomputer and telecommunications centre, located at the Canadian Meteorological Centre in Dorval, Quebec outside Montreal. Primary in this responsibility was operating the largest NEC supercomputer complex outside Japan. In the last years with MSC before joining NCAR, Al served as the Director General of the Canadian Meteorological Center.

He was prominent in the international arena, representing Canada at the United Nations Agency, and NCAR at the World Meteorological Organization working group committees for data management, observations, and telecommunications, and most recently serving as Chair of the Working Group on Data Processing.

At the time of his death, Al was the NCAR Associate Director of the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL). He held this post for the past 18 years.

Under his direction, NCAR has transitioned from a parallel vector supercomputing environment to scalar clusters and increased available resources seven-fold.  Realizing that the data center in the basement of the NCAR Mesa Laboratory in Boulder had reached its physical plant limit, he presided over the funding, design, and construction of the state-of-the-art NCAR/Wyoming Supercomputer Center (NWSC) located in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  The NWSC opened in 2012.

Al is survived by wife Jean Grill, who he met in Boulder in 2005. He is also survived by his two children Karma Cyr and Robert Kellie, his brother Duncan Kellie, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

In his leisure time, Al loved playing golf, traveling the world to be with friends and colleagues, a fine glass of wine, and honing his creative cooking skills. He cherished the time spent with his family. He considered his co-workers at NCAR his extended family, and enjoyed the working relationships he had with his colleagues.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund is being established in Al’s memory to support Education and Outreach in CISL. Please visit the following webpage to donate:


In celebration of Al’s life, a memorial service will be held on Sunday, September 18, at 1:00pm, at the NCAR Mesa Lab facility, 1850 Table Mesa Dr., Boulder, CO 80305.




NCAR 1850 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder, CO 80305 | Map




My sincere condolences to the family, colleagues and friends of Al for this tremendous and unexpected loss. Al was a man of vision, a smart man who could master bureaucracy, networks and politics to get the job done. He was fearless... in an organized and planned way. Early in my career Al has been a mentor; he has never been afraid to leave the space for young employees to grow. He was also very generous of its time for his former Canadian colleagues. The atmospheric science community has lost a brilliant architect and builder of our IT infrastructure. As we say in French, Au Revoir Al ! Michel Jean, Director General, Canadian Centre for Meteorological and Environmental Prediction, Meteorological Service of Canada.
My sincere and deepest condolences on the passing of Al. When Al first came to NCAR I took him out golfing a few times. Although I have not played with him for many years, we talked golf from time to time, and I had lunch with him on the Tuesday before he died. What a shock. He revealed he had played 36 holes on Labor Day and another 18 the day before, so he seemed fit enough. He was a dear and personable colleague, and will be much missed by us all. My heart goes out to you and I am only so sorry that I can't attend the Memorial Service at NCAR: I'll be on travel in China. Kevin Trenberth
Darlene & I wish to pass along our sincere condolences to the family. Al reported to my office in Edmonton (Namao) right off course. We shared interests in curling and automotive repair. Al related a story one time that a high school teacher had discouraged him from attending university because he didn't think Al could handle it. Al certinally proved him wrong.
Jean and family: Al was a dear friend and compatriot throughout our years together at Brandon College. We spent many hours and days playing football, studying in my room at res., preparing him and being there for him with his first marriage and family, and participating in all the great activities at the college. Al turned down a football scholarship to the States, that he might continue his education and football career with friends in Brandon. As always, time separates us from friends and family, but the friendship never ends. Al and I were together at our 45th Brandon College reunion a few years back where I met his beautiful friend and wife Jean. A lot of time was spent reminiscing , discussing his peace of mind, his love for Jean, his work, and fine tuning his golf game so that he might one day beat me in a game. He has exceeded his expectations in life and leaves his many achievements, family, friends, and memories behind. We will miss him dearly. Forever a friend - Al Hill Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada