Major (USAF Ret) James Patrick (Jim) Kelly

Published 6:51 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Major (USAF Ret) James Patrick (Jim) Kelly died June 3, 2019. He joins his loving wife Terri who passed away April 7.   The fourth and youngest child of the late Mary and Patrick Kelly of County Mayo, Ireland, Jim was born on Dec. 12, 1930, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was 88 years old. At the age of 4, the family moved to Queens, New York, where he filled his days playing soccer, stick ball and winning junior medals as a boxer. He developed an early fascination with planes and flying that led to his first job washing airplanes at Kennedy Airport. 

Jim enlisted in the US Air Force in 1947 where after 7 years he entered pilot training and earned an officers commission and his pilot’s wings. He met and married the love of his life, Terri, in 1956. After 22 years of active duty service, 5000 flying hours, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and 16 Air Medals, Major James P.   Kelly retired from the USAF in 1970.   

Having lived the nomadic life as part of the Strategic Air Command living in California, Oklahoma and Texas, Jim and Terri settled in Georgia, where they called home for 50 years. His second career in Vocational Rehabilitation was as equally distinguished as he affected legislation, policy and services at the state and national level, which positively impacted the lives of thousands of individuals with disabilities.   

He is preceded in death by wife, Marie Anne Therese (Terri) Allain Kelly, his sisters Nora Lishing and Dorothy Smith. 

Jim is survived by his sister Anna Mae Conlon of Westbury, New York; his seven children and their spouses Kevin and Debbie Kelly of Harrison, TN, Steve Kelly and Shannon Heath of Lafayette, LA, Paula Warner of LaGrange, GA, Jim and Christine Kelly of Naples, FL, Natalie Kelly and Marshall Ellis of Troutman, NC, Simone Kelly of Ooltewah, TN and Kathleen and Jerry Tucker of Wahiawa, Hawaii; 18 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.

 Funeral services will be held on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 1 p.m. at Hamilton Funeral Home with Father Manuel Perez officiating.

Interment will follow at Chattanooga National Cemetery with Military Honors.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, June 9, 2019 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Monday from 11:30 a.m. until the time of the service at the funeral home.

Memorial Mass at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in LaGrange, Georgia, Saturday, June 15 at 11 am 

Donations in lieu of flowers to St. Vincent de Paul at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. 

Arrangements are by Hamilton Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 4506 Hixson Pike, Hixson (423) 531-3975.