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James Kent Kelleher of Exton, age 85, passed away on July 27, 2019. Beloved husband of 63 1/2 years of Sue (nee Straith) Kelleher. Avid Philadelphia sports fan. Loving father of Kevin (Priscilla) of Springfield, VA, Kathy Kelleher of Catawissa, PA, Kristine (Rob) Singer of West Chester, PA, and Kolleen (Paul) Rippy of Downingtown, PA. Loving grandfather of Kayla (Brett) Neller, Kristin Kelleher, Ryan Singer, Kevin Singer, Kellie Rippy, and Tyler Rippy. Loving brother of William (Joy) Kelleher of Coventry, CT.
Services are private. In lieu of flowers family prefers contributions be made to Asera Care Hospice, 415 Eagleview Blvd suite 108, Exton, PA 19341.
James Kent Kelleher was born on January 20, 1934 in Killingly, Connecticut, the second of two sons to William and Pauline Kelleher. As a youth, Jim excelled in athletics, particularly track and football. His passion for sports was one of the many lessons he passed on to his children and grandchildren. After graduating from St. Mary’s School and Putnam High School, Jim moved on to Storm King School in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, where he was a standout football player. The next year he attended the University of Connecticut where he intended to play football and run track. Jim decided to cut his college career short and entered the US Air Force in 1953. Just prior to being deployed Jim’s life took a fortuitous turn while on a brief stopover in New York City. By pure chance, Jim met his future wife, Sue Straith. The rest, as they say, is history. Sue and Jim were married a year later and the newlyweds settled in Bedford, England. Jim achieved the rank of Airman First Class while stationed as a morse code operator at Royal Air Force Chicksands in Bedford. Upon completion of his tour of duty, Jim was honorably discharged from the Air Force and the couple settled in Miami, Florida, where Jim attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Institute and earned all licenses and ratings required to work as a commercial pilot. The market for commercial pilots was not ideal at that time, so Jim decided to pursue a career in business, to which he devoted the remainder of his working life. Jim’s business career saw him work with Air Control/Vent Control, Keller Industries, ACS, Giffin Industries, and finally with North American Window and Door Company in Malvern, PA. Jim was both co-owner and owner of North American, from which he retired in 1995.
Sue and Jim started their family while living in Miami in the late 1950s, where their first child, Kevin, was born. Jim’s employment required several moves over the years, so their other three children were born in different locations, Kathy in Columbus, Ohio, Kris in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and Kolleen in Miami, Florida. The Kelleher’s laid down roots for 11 years in South Florida, where Sue and Jim introduced all four Kelleher children to numerous sports and community activities. Jim dedicated himself to coaching football and baseball and served as president of the Pembroke Pines Optimist Club. Jim and Sue relocated the family to West Chester, Pennsylvania in 1977 concurrent with Jim’s employment with North American.
Upon retirement in 1995, Sue and Jim spent their golden years traveling seasonally between their “cabin on the mountain” in Catawissa, Pennsylvania and their home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. They relocated from Myrtle Beach to a golf course home at Wachesaw Plantation East in Murrells Inlet, SC in 1997 and then to another golf course home at Sun City Center, Florida in 2003. In 2011, Sue and Jim returned to the West Chester area to spend more time with their children and grandchildren. Their children and grandchildren have been their focus and their source of joy. Jim did his best to encourage his offspring to root for the Eagles, Phillies, and Flyers and enjoyed the repartee with those who chose loyalty to other teams. In addition to rooting for his favorite Philly teams, Jim enjoyed playing golf with his buddies and with his son and fishing in Maine with his beloved brother, Bill.
A man of honesty, integrity, and passion, Jim’s life was the hallmark of a man who put others before himself. Never one for fanfare, he worked quietly behind the scenes to ensure everyone, especially his beloved Sue, was well taken care of. He never wanted recognition. He just did what needed to be done. He was a wonderful and devoted husband to Sue, a disciplined but at the same time tender father to his children, and a loyal friend to everyone who knew him. We will miss him dearly. Our loss is heaven’s gain.
Asera Care Hospice
415 Eagleview Blvd suite 108, Exton, PA 19341., Exton PA 19341