LEWES, DE — James Adams Kelley, age 85 of Lewes, DE, crossed the finish line of life’s Great Race on Friday, August 5, 2022. An avid runner for decades, he made a family tradition of the annual City of Pittsburgh’s Great Race.
Jim was born November 29, 1936 in Stratton, a small town in the western mountains of Maine. Son of the late John W. and Lucille (Williamson) Kelley, he excelled at basketball, baseball, and track & field for the Stratton Bobcats and was the 1954 class valedictorian (a class of seven students!). After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Economics from the University of Maine in 1958, he served two years in “Uncle Sam’s Army”, in his words, “fighting the Battle of Alabama” at Fort Rucker. Returning to New England, in the early 1960s he began his 30-year career with the Travelers Insurance Company.
On April 28, 1962, he married Mary Ann—Mimi—(nee Gore), and together they raised four children: Patrick James, Michael Charles, Jill Ann, and Jan Mary. In 1970, a promotion brought Jim, Mimi, and the first three kids from Southport, CT to Pittsburgh, PA. Jan was born shortly thereafter, and the family settled in the North Hills of Pittsburgh for the next three decades, where they cheered the Steelers, the Pirates, and the Penguins. Jim loved to quip that he and Terry Bradshaw came to Pittsburgh the same year, and he was on-hand in 1972 (along with Mimi’s father) to see the Steelers beat the Raiders on Bradshaw’s “Immaculate Reception” to Franco Harris for the team’s first playoff victory.
Jim was an ardent tennis player, an occasional golfer and downhill skier, and he was always active in the community. He coached Little League baseball and softball for years and served the McCandless Lions Club (president 1981-82) and the Republican Party of Allegheny County (committeeman 1978-2008) during his tenure in Pittsburgh. In between travels across the globe, he and Mimi attended countless sporting events at pools, fields, gyms, and ice rinks across the country as their children and grandchildren grew. Each summer, a trip to visit family throughout New England culminated in a return to Stratton, where the extended family still cherishes time at the house built by Jim’s grandfather in the early 1900s.
In 2008, Jim and Mimi moved to Lewes, DE and embraced their new community as they did years before in Pittsburgh, making fast friends and becoming enthusiastically involved in local activities. Jim volunteered his time at Beebe’s Treasure Chest Thrift Shop, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, the Villages of Five Points, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Lewes, where he taught English-as-a-second-language classes, and other organizations across Sussex County. After Mimi’s passing, Jim found companionship with his “special friend,” Nancy Kassner of Lincoln, DE, with whom he enjoyed travel and leisure time.
Jim was preceded in death by his loving wife of 51 years, Mimi (2013). He is survived by his four children and their spouses: Patrick and his wife, Shelly, of Brentwood, NH; Michael and his wife, Debbie, of Wayne, PA; Jill and her husband, John Evers, of South Hamilton, MA; and Jan and her husband, Michael Fleming, of Rehoboth Beach, DE. His nine grandchildren—Sean Patrick Kelley, James Andrew Kelley, Allison Lynn Kelley, Lauren Elizabeth Kelley, Timothy Michael Kelley, Ryan Kelley Evers, Conor William Evers, John Charles (Jack) Evers, and Brian Michael Fleming—are scattered from coast to coast, but all were on hand in Lewes last November to celebrate Grandpa Jim’s 85th birthday. He is also survived by his brother John W. Kelley, Jr. and his wife Joyce, of Raymond, ME, his nephew John W. Kelley, III and his wife Tania, of Santa Rosa, CA along with their two children Neala and Eamon, and his niece Kimberly, of Raymond, ME.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022 at 11 a.m. at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church, 152 Tulip Drive, Lewes, DE. Interment will be private.
All who cannot attend in person are invited to join the services at St. Jude the Apostle via live streaming by visiting the following link on their website: www.youtube.com/channel/UC2vnHlr2UccJsuItv_Xrzhg.
Memorial contributions in Jim’s memory may be made to the charity of your choice.
Please visit Jim’s Life Memorial webpage and sign his online guestbook at www.parsellfuneralhomes.com.