Jim Kennelly died peacefully on March 3, 2004 following a brief stay in MeritCare Hospital. After receiving the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick he was ?good to go?.
Jim was born in Waumandee, WI, the eldest son of Patrick J. Kennelly and Helen Rotering. His youth was spent on the North Dakota prairie in Crystal Springs, where, at the age of twelve, he learned to drive a team of horses and experienced the hardships of the Great Depression. He grew up strong and took pride in his capacity to work the long hard days of the thresherman. This work ethic remained with him even beyond his retirement.
Jim always said that he and his brother, Bevis, were a ?package deal.? In high school, they comprised two-thirds of the Tappen High School track team. After WWII they raised their families on the same block in Fargo and worked together as officers of Lincoln Mutual Life Insurance Company until their retirements. They remained close until Bevis died in 1995.
While working on his degree from UND, Jim lived in ?Camp Depression? and later did maintenance work for President West in exchange for a room in the basement of the President?s house. His first career took him back to central ND where he taught school in Steel and Tappen until the ND Insurance Department lured him away. He remained with the Insurance Department until the outbreak of WWII.
During World War II, he served our country as an officer in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific Theater. He remained in the Air Force Reserves and retired as a full colonel in 1970. He exemplified the best of Tom Brokaw?s Greatest Generation. He wore his uniform smartly and was proud of his service although he seldom talked about it.
Jim married Kathleen ?Kay? Doran, of Grand Forks, ND, on April 30, 1943. They had 4 children and lived in Boca Raton, FL, Grand Forks, ND and Fargo, ND. Kay died October of 1950 and Jim continued to raise the family in Fargo. As a single father, he was named FM Father of the Year in 1959. In 1968, Jim married Rosemary (Crummy) Cleary and began again the role of husband, expanding his family to include six step-children.
Jim retired as Secretary-Treasurer of Lincoln Mutual in 1977. Not one to sit still, his retirement included a term in the ND House of Representatives in 1976, restoring old Jeepsters and a 1929 Willys-Knight, baking bread, volunteering at the St. Vincent DePaul Society, working on projects around the house and lake cabin. He enjoyed spending time at his lake cabin and water skied into his 70?s. He was a member of the Reserve Officers Association and his membership in the Knights of Columbus spanned over 60 years.
He was preceded in death by his wife Kathleen, his parents, two brothers and two sisters. He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Rosemary Kennelly (Fargo, ND); 4 adult children, Pat Kennelly (Fargo, ND), Bill Kennelly (Madison, WI) Jean Fernandez (Westminister, CA) and Jack Kennelly (Fargo, ND); 6 adult step-children Marlys Pedrick (Cambridge, WI) Colleen Bassett (Southfield, MI) Mike Cleary (Fargo, ND), Regina Mandy (Fargo, ND), Cathy Cleary-Ordal (Boulder, CO) and John Cleary (Fargo, ND), 26 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and his brother, Andy Kennelly (Castro Valley, CA).
Jim was a gentleman in all things to everyone. He was a wonderful story-teller, hard worker and much loved husband, father, grandfather and great grand father, who left a legacy of faith, love, and faithfulness to his family, who will miss him greatly.
Funeral Mass for Jim will be Saturday at 12 noon in St. Mary?s Cathedral, Fargo. A prayer service will be held Friday at 7 p.m. in Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo. Visitation will be held Friday from 6-7 p.m. in Boulger Funeral Home, and Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon in St. Mary?s Cathedral. Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Fargo.
Arrangements by Boulger Funeral Home, Fargo. Online guestbook at www.boulgerfuneralhome.com