James Kelley

Obituary of James Patrick Kelley

James Patrick Kelley (Jim) died November 1, 2022 in Fairfax, VA.  Jim was born February 18, 1936 in Beloit, Wisconsin to Daniel Edward and Arthis Marie (Holm) Kelley.  He attended Brother Dutton School in Beloit and the Salvatorian Seminary in St. Nazianz, WI prior to earning his Bachelor’s degree from Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, DC.  Completing a four-year program in theology at CUA, Jim was ordained a priest in 1964 and proceeded to Tanzania where he served as a parish priest, and later as diocesan Vicar General.  He was laicized in 1969, he married Patricia Sykes, RN; they divorced in 1981.


Jim’s career continued in pursuit of service and advocacy for the poor and marginalized while in the employ of the US Government agencies (Department of State’s Refugee Bureau and Peace Corps) for 25 years, and non-governmental agencies (Association of General Contractors, Catholic Relief Services, and the Ignatian Volunteer Corps) for 20 years, 15 of those 45 years were spent in Africa.


Jim married his beloved Margo Tully-Kelley on August 22, 2003 at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Falls Church, VA.  He is pre-deceased by his parents, his daughter Sara Kelley Lacopo, his sister Colleen, who died as an infant, and his brothers Thomas and Paul.  Jim is survived by his wife; sister Mary (Paul) Murphy; son David (Phoebe) Kelley and their daughter Alice, Sara, and Colleen; his sisters-in-law Barbara (Thomas) Kelley and Mary (Paul) Kelley; his son-in-law Michael Lacopo and grandson Jack Locopo; nieces Kathy Zanzig, Margaret Mann, Ann Long, Karen Haas, Kelly Murphy, Claire Bjorkholm; and nephews Paul Murphy, John Kelley, and Dan Murphy.


A Memorial/funeral service to be held at a date to be determined in the new year.  The interment will be in Beloit, Wisconsin, again TBD.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the organization(s) of donors’ choice.


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