Cumberland Times-News


February 6, 2014

JAMES E. KELLY JR. [Frostburg]

FROSTBURG — James E. Kelly Jr. passed away on his 81st birthday, Feb. 5, 2014, at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center.

Born in Cumberland, Jim was the son of the late James E. Kelly, Sr. and Mary G. Kelly.

Jim graduated from LaSalle High School, class of 1950. He served in the U.S. Army until 1955. After that, Jim attended Frostburg State College, earning a Bachelor of Education in 1959 and a Masters of Education in 1965.

Jim’s professional career was dedicated to the education of children at many levels. He taught for one year in the Baltimore County Schools. He then returned to the Allegany County School System, teaching at Gephart Elementary, serving as Principle at Ellerslie Elementary, and Supervisor of Federal Programs. Jim was Supervisor of Pupil Transportation for 20 years, four years of which he also served as Assistant Superintendent of Schools.

Jim’s family recalls an especially touching event. In 2000, a member of the sixth grade class of 1963-64 at Gephart Elementary School called Jim and invited him to dinner at Giuseppe’s Restaurant. As a complete surprise, the classmates had gathered to host a dinner to honor and thank Jim. Earlier that year at their 30th high school reunion, they had decided that Jim was “the person who had most influenced their lives.” In an album of remembrances given to Jim that night, they said: “Mr. Kelly was not just a teacher of education, he was a teacher of life.”

A proud, lifelong Cumberland/Frostburg resident, Jim was active in many community and church related activities. He was Past President of the Frostburg Jaycees and a member of the Frostburg Recreation and Parks Commission for 40 years. Jim served as a lector at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Frostburg for over 40 years and was a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Jim was known for his devotion to his family and friends and he greeted everyone with a smile. Anyone who knew Jim also understood that he, as well as his group of dedicated friends, were Notre Dame Football fans. Saturday was game day and that was sacred. He always put their games into perspective, but life was always brighter for Jim when the Irish had a win. The Fighting Irish were his passion, but his own Irish heritage was a great sense of pride for Jim also. A trip to Ireland in 1993 with all of his siblings was a real highlight.

Jim was also known for his dedication to walking. Jim had several significant health challenges that were helped by walking, so he began a daily two mile walking routine in 1952. He walked 7 days a week in all types of locations, weather, and in all seasons. Jim kept strict logs of his journeys by foot and he actually walked over 25,000 miles, which is equivalent to walking around the world. Jim kept walking, although at an altered length, until one month ago.  

Jim is survived by the love of his life whom he married in 1960, Mary Frances Kelly, and their treasured daughter. Tracy Kirk and her husband Jeff Kirk, and dear grandsons, Jeffrey Todd (J.T.) and James Kirk. He is also survived by sisters, Eileen Jefferson and Dorothy Bernard; and brothers, Mike and Kerry Kelly and his wife Nanette Kelly. Jim is also survived by brother-in-law, Frank Deluca and his wife Kerrie Burch-DeLuca and their sons Adam and Ryan Burch, their wives Cindy and Sheehan Burch, and their children John, Annie, Graham, Bing, Minnie, and Dori Burch.

Jim was preceded in death by his beloved young son, Jimmy; and his brother, Pat Kelly.

Family and friends will be welcomed at the Sowers Funeral Home, 60 W. Main Street, Frostburg, on Friday from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m.  

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, 44 E. Main St., Frostburg, on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. with Father Gregory Brown OFM Cap. as celebrant.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to St. Michael’s Church, 44 E. Main St., Frostburg, MD 21532.

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