In Memory of



Obituary for James Kelly

James "Jim" Kelly (1935 - 2023)
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of James "Jim" Kelly on Friday, September 8th, 2023, after a courageous battle with dementia. Born in Old Leighlin, County Carlow, Ireland, in 1935, Jim was one of eleven children. The Old Leighlin Kellys were well-known for their honesty, integrity, gentleness, and kindness. Jim embodied these qualities throughout his life and left an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of knowing him.

Jim's journey took him across the ocean to Canada when he was just 20 years old, where he followed his older brother Mike over and settled in Toronto. He worked diligently to put himself through the University of Toronto, a testament to his determination and commitment. Passionate about sports, Jim also played Rugby during this time. He became one of the founding members of St. Vincent's Toronto Gaelic Athletic Association Club, as well as Durham Emmet’s GAA club, and later was awarded a place in the Rugby Hall of Fame. Rugby and Gaelic weren't just sports for Jim; but a reflection of his love of community and camaraderie. And when he retired from playing, he would cherish watching all of his children play sports, becoming a coach, chauffeur and cheerleader.

Jim's life took a beautiful turn when he met the love of his life, Maree, while working as a bouncer at McVey's Irish Tavern. Despite the ten-year age gap, their connection was instant and profound. They married just a year later and together started a family that would become the center of Jim's universe. Jim and Maree welcomed three children into their lives: Dervilla, Brian, and Orla.

After completing his education, Jim embarked on a successful career in the insurance industry. He began his professional journey at Crown Life Insurance and later founded his own insurance brokerage. Jim's clients weren't just business associates; they were friends, drawn to him by his unwavering honesty, kindness, and tireless work ethic. Jim's reputation as a trusted advisor was built on the strong foundation of his character, and he was always willing to go the extra mile to help others.

Jim's love for life was evident in his passions, from his love of travel to his enthusiasm for dancing, enjoying a good rye and ginger or spicy homemade curry, walks by the lake, a round of golf with Brian, to sharing a good story and pint with friends. His home was always open - to the many (many) friends of his teenage kids who always felt welcome at the Kellys, to any of his friends who were in need and knew Jim would be there for them no matter what.

However, above all else, Jim's deepest and most enduring love was reserved for his family. He cherished every moment spent with them and showered them with boundless affection. He beamed when his grandchildren entered the room and his love filled every nook and cranny. His warm laugh and the twinkle in his eye will be fondly remembered and deeply missed by all who had the privilege of being a part of his life.

Jim leaves behind a legacy of love, kindness, generosity and integrity that will continue to inspire those who knew him. In our hearts and memories, he will forever remain a beacon of warmth, laughter, and unwavering love.
A celebration of Jim's life will be held on Friday, September 15th at St. Bernadette's Church in Ajax at 1pm, followed by a reception at The Royal Oak South at Whitby Shores. 617 Victoria Street West.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to the Alzheimer Society. (please use the link below)
Jim, your journey may have come to an end, but your spirit lives on in the hearts of those you touched. Rest in peace, dear friend, loving husband, devoted father, grandad and cherished family member. You will never be forgotten.