James Gaston Kelley, 88, of Kountze, passed away peacefully in his home in the company of his family members on Feb. 14, 2013. He was born at his home in Houston County to George E. and Wilma J. Kelley on June 7, 1924.
He graduated from Lovelady High School, after which he worked for a period at Todd Ship Yard in Houston as a welder. He enlisted in the armed services in 1943 and served his country in the European theatre of operation during World War II. He served in the First Infantry, 26th Division anti-tank unit during the drive from Normandy, France to Germany. After the war, he attended Sam Houston University in Huntsville where in 1948 he met and married his sweetheart, Ramona Rogers of Baytown. He graduated from Sam Houston in 1950 with a master’s degree in vocational agriculture education and took a position as a teacher at the Crockett Texas High School. In 1956, he moved his family to Kountze where he took a teaching position at Kountze High School. While at Kountze High he started an active Young Farmers Organization, whose services he enlisted to organize the Kountze FFA Livestock and Project Show.
Mr. Kelley retired in 1985, finishing his service at Kountze ISD as the principal of the Kountze Junior High School. He was active in his community, a longtime member of the Methodist Church, and president and longtime member of the Kountze Chamber of Commerce.
He and his wife Ramona had two children, seven grandsons, and 16 great-grandchildren.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Gordon Kelley, and daughter, Patricia Kay Haberman.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ramona Kelley; son, James Roger Kelley and his wife, Hinda, of Humble; son-in-law, Bob Haberman of Brenham; grandsons, Jared Kelley, Matthew Kelley, Michael Kelley, Nicholas Kelley, Travis Kelley, Nathanael Kelley, James Haberman, and their wives; 10 great-grandsons; six great-granddaughters; brother, Pat Kelley of Crockett; and sisters, Ernestine Bitner and Sue Arledge, both of Houston.
A gathering of Mr. Kelley’s family and friends will be from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, at Broussard’s, 530 West Monroe, Kountze.
His funeral service will be 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, at First United Methodist Church, 1015 S. Pine Street, Kountze. His graveside service will follow at 4 p.m., at Olive Branch Cemetery, Palestine.
The family would like to express its appreciation to the nurses and aides of Texas Home Health Hospice who provided loving and professional care.
Memorial contributions may be made to First United Methodist Church of Kountze, 1015 S. Pine Street, Kountze, Texas 77625.
Complete and updated information may be found at www.broussards1889.com.