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James Charles Kelly



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James “Jim” Kelly, 85, of Newtown, formerly of Ridgefield, passed away peacefully on February 1 after a long illness.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on November 19, 1935; a son of the late James Neil and Ann Kelly.

Jim graduated St John’s University in June 1959 with a B.A. degree. He attended graduate studies at City College of New York, 1960 to 1962. Jim served with the National Guard at Fort Dix from August 1959 to February 1960 and served in the National Reserves until 1962.

He married his beloved wife, Claudia (Gallagher), in May 1960. Their first apartment was in Flushing, N.Y., before moving to Port Jefferson, N.Y., in 1962. Jim and Claudia moved their young family to Ridgefield, where they resided for 43 years before moving to Newtown to be closer to their children. He was an active member of St Mary Parish in Ridgefield for 43 years, serving as an usher at the 7 am Sunday Mass. He was a member of the Church of St Mary in Bethel for the past six years.

Jim’s extensive career in banking-human resources included numerous accomplishments: Board of Directors at Parents Place, Inc, president of the American Institute of Banking, treasurer of the Martin Luther King Committee, treasurer of the Westchester County Alcohol Advisory Counsel, member of the Bankers Eastern Personnel Association, member of the New York State Bankers Association, instructor for the American Institute of Banking, instructor of the American Bankers Association, and instructor for the Christian Religion Education Program, and he was a recipient of the President’s Leadership Award and the Martin Luther King Corporate Award.

Retiring after a long career, he joined the Men’s Club of Ridgefield, was a staple in the early morning at the Ridgefield Fitness Center, enjoyed meeting friends and family for breakfast to solve the world’s problems, loved a good game of golf with friends, appreciated reading a good mystery novel or biography, watching sports, old movies (westerns, in particular, Shane), and debating politics, but most of all, he loved spending time with his family, especially with his four grandchildren who he adored immensely. He loved attending school events, scouting events, cheering them on at their sports events, playing games, jokes, pranks, and just being the overall adoring, fun grandpa (“G-PA”) always competing to be “The Fairest One of All.”

Jim is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Claudia, and children: Dawn (Kelly) Coughlin and her husband, Matthew, of Sandy Hook; Claudia (Kelly) Dene and her husband, William, of Sandy Hook; and James Kelly and his wife, Susan, of Danbury. He is also survived by his four grandchildren: Andrew Christopher St John and fiancée, Aerielle Nicole Smith; Nicholas James Kelly; Jessica Leigh Coughlin; and Kelly Marissa Coughlin; and by his sister, Geraldine (Kelly) Chider, and her husband, Joseph, of Wesley Chapel, Fla.

He is predeceased by his sister, Margaret Ann Kelly, and brother, John Kelly.

Due to COVID-19, there will be no calling hours. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at the Church of St Mary in Bethel at 11 am on Friday, February 12.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to one of the following charities: Regional Hospice at regionalhospicect.networkforgood.com/projects/44646-making-the-best-of-everyday; St Jude’s Children’s Hospital at stjude.org/donate; or a charity of your choice.

Honan Funeral Home, 58 Main Street, Newtown is serving the family.

Comments are open. Be civil.
  1. anne.scotland says:

    Condolences to Claudia and family from Scotland.
    Our fond memories of Jim , a cousin and friend ,are of Jim and Claudia visiting Scotland for a family wedding.
    We will remember Jim with fondness and happy memories when we visited the family at their home in Connecticut in the eighties.
    Love and happy memories from cousin Anne and Stewart

  2. donnam says:

    Claudia and Family,

    My deepest sympathy to you and your family. May your memories bring you comfort during this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time.

    Donna M.

  3. nantoniades@comcast.net says:

    Claudia and family – We were all blessed with so much laughter when in Jim’s presence that I know this will carry you through these difficult times. I am honored to have been part of his breakfast club after our workouts at the gym in Ridgefield, which then became the birthday club once you moved to Newtown. I will continue to celebrate with a fresh batch of muffins every November in his honor. Thank you for welcoming me into your family and although I am sad for the loss of my friend, I am inspired by the strength of your loving relationship and the power of laughter that he brought to you, your children, his grandchildren and all who knew him. He continues to make me smile. With love, Nadya Antoniades

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