~~James (Jim) Kelly of Summit, NJ
James Kelly, a longtime resident of Summit, passed away peacefully at home on Saturday June 6th. He was 91 years old.
Born on March 3rd, 1924 in Dalmuir, Scotland to the late William and Rachel Kelly, he was the youngest of fourteen children. After losing his own father prematurely, James had to leave school at the young age of 13 in order to help support his widowed mother.
When World War II broke out, he was later called up to join the British Army, becoming a soldier in the English 1st Battalion Scots Guards, later rising to field promotion rank of sergeant. He served with distinction during the Allied campaign in Italy, as well as in North Africa and the Middle East.
Returning to Scotland after his Guards service, James became a machinist with the Singer Manufacturing Corporation in Clydebank. A gifted athlete, he also played professional level soccer with the Duntocher Hibernians (“Hibs”) Football Club, (and later on with the Newark Portuguese Soccer Club in America).
In the late 1950’s James permanently moved his young family to the United States and settled in Summit. He joined Mikropul Corporation, and worked there continuously until his retirement as a plant foreman in 1986. While at Mikropul, he also played on the company’s golf team.
A few months into retirement, and looking for something new to keep busy, James decided to join Baltusrol Golf Club as a caddy. It was at Baltusrol where he would spend the next jovial 20 plus years, earning the respect and affection of many a member. In fact, it was rumored that just hearing his Scots accent alone was good enough to automatically improve any member’s game by at least a stroke. During his tenure at Baltusrol, Jim met a wide array of pro golfers, ball players, and dignitaries of all sorts, each and every one of whom felt his charm.
A passionate follower of the Glasgow Celtic FC, James was also a former member and officer of the Kearny branch of the Glasgow Celtic Supporters Association. His proudest achievement was bringing over, and hosting Billy McNeill MBE, Captain of the 1967 Celtic European Cup Champions.
James Kelly was a man of many talents. He enjoyed good books, world travel, and watching his cherished granddaughter grow up. Anyone who met him over the course of his long life knew that he was a renaissance man. He is now eternally reunited with his late beloved wife Sarah, and is survived by his son Maurice, daughter in law Lynn, and his granddaughter Caroline.
A funeral mass will be held on Friday, June 12th at 10:45 at St. Teresa’s of Avila, 306 Morris Avenue, Summit. Friends may visit on Thursday June 11th from 5-9 Bradley, Brough, and Dangler Funeral Home, 309 Springfield Avenue, Summit.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in James Kelly’s name to Girls Learn International www.girlslearn.net.