James F. Kelly of Harleysville died peacefully Monday night after a 2-year struggle with cancer. He was 85.
Mr. Kelly was born in 1929, the first son of James F. and Winifred Kelly of Philadelphia, PA. He was raised in the East Falls section of the city, and attended Roman Catholic High School prior to enlisting in the United States Army in 1951.
He served honorably as a Corporal for two years in the 101st Airborne Division, and was stationed in Berlin, Germany during the Korean Conflict. Some of his fondest memories as a soldier involved playing basketball and baseball for his battalion in joint US-German sporting contests, which served to foster goodwill between the nations during the occupation of West Germany.
After his discharge, Mr. Kelly was employed as a Journeyman Electrician in The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 98 (Philadelphia) for 38 years until his retirement in 1991.
He was an ardent sports enthusiast who counted Notre Dame Football, The Philadelphia Phillies, and The Philadelphia Eagles among his favorites. In addition, he was a fervent supporter of both the Swimming and Diving and Football programs at North Penn High School. A longtime parishioner of Corpus Christi Catholic Church, James Kelly will be deeply missed and remembered fondly as a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend to all who knew him.
Mr. Kelly leaves behind a loving wife, Joan C. (nee Collins) and 5 children: James F. Kelly III (and wife Rayanne) of Cocoa Beach, FL, Colleen Kern (and husband Michael) of Lansdale, PA, Joan ‘Missy’ Butler (and husband David) of Conowingo, MD, Daniel Kelly (and wife Regina) of Lansdale, PA, and Brian Kelly of Philadelphia, PA. In addition, he is survived by 9 grandchildren Marie Kelly, James F. Kelly IV, Kate Kelly, Courtney Kern, Michael Kern, David Butler, Bryan Butler, Colin Kelly and Liam Kelly and his beloved niece, Karen Ernst. Mr. Kelly was preceded in death by his twin sister Winifred ‘Babe’ McIlhenny, and baby sister Margaret ‘Peggy’ Morris (wife of Phil Morris). He is survived by his brother Paul Kelly (and wife Marge) of New Hope, PA and sister Maryann Gardner (wife of Richard Gardner (dec.)) of Philadelphia, PA.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Corpus Christi Catholic Church (900 Sumneytown Pike, Lansdale, PA 19446) at 11:00 on Saturday, August 16th. A viewing prior to the Mass will begin at 9:30. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to The National WWII Memorial (www.wwiimemorial.com) or The Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org).