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James Barton Kelly, 90, died Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 in his home on Crystal Lake in Beulah from complications related to Parkinson's Disease. In hospice care for the week prior to his death, James died peacefully in his sleep with his loving wife Eileen by his side.
He leaves his wife, Eileen Mary Kelly; sons, James Kelly and spouse Pamela Kelly, Stephen Kelly, Michael Kelly and spouse Sarah Kelly, and Daniel Kelly; grandchildren, Jonathan Kelly, Patrick Kelly, Lucas Kelly, Maura Kelly, Sarah Dalhaus and John Eldredge; and two great-grandchildren; and his brother, Michael Kelly and spouse Mei Lei Kelly.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri on Feb. 12, 1927 to James Christopher Kelly and Hazel (Barton) Kelly, James spent his early years in St. Louis before leaving home to attend the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York, where he met the love of his life, Eileen Redling. They married in 1949. After his service in the Merchant Marine he joined Combustion Engineering, Inc as an engineer. While working for Combustion, he studied law and in 1954 earned his Juris Doctor from St. John's University, and a Master of Laws from New York University in 1957. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1954 and the Supreme Court of the United States in 1964. He worked for Combustion as an attorney (1954-1957), assistant secretary (1957-1963), secretary (1963-1973), corporation vice president (1967-1988), president of Industrial Group, (1973-1988), senior vice president of Power Systems Group (1986-1988), and finally executive vice president of operations (1987-1988). After retiring from Combustion, he served as President of PPG Industries, Inc. of Whittier, California, and later served on its board of directors.
Jim was a Knight of Malta and a trustee of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. He was a longtime member of Benzie Sunrise Rotary Club.
After retiring from a career in business, Jim and Eileen moved from their home in New Canaan, Connecticut to a home on Crystal Lake where he had spent summers as a boy. He also developed real estate on and around Crystal Lake with his partner Jack French, most importantly the Crystal Highlands development. Later he founded White O' Morn Farm where he raised Belted Galloway cattle and the forage necessary to their upkeep. At one point his herd included as many as 30 cattle. Jim liked nothing more than to bale hay and move earth with his farm equipment.
The funeral will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 3 at St. Ann's Church in Frankfort. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Benzie Area Christian Neighbors Association (benziebacn.org). Arrangements were made by Jowett Family Funeral Homes & Cremation Service.
Published on January 3, 2018
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