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Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) John “Jack” Horace Kelly devoted husband, father, and grandfather died peacefully surrounded by his family at home in Pass Christian, MS on Thursday, January 12, 2023.
Jack is survived by the love of his life, Carol McMinn whom he married on September 17, 1965; his four children and their spouses: Debra Woolsey and James Huntington Odom Jr.; Rachel Amelia and Andrew Wesley Browne; Jaye Scott and Dana Dunaway Kelly; Julie Amanda and Robert Jerome Calhoun; eight grandchildren: Lauren Gutierrez Chambers, Thomas Andrew and Lydia Cadaret Browne, James Huntington Odom III, Gabrielle Elizabeth Browne, Meghan Lynn Kelly, Hannah Grace Anding, Emily Elizabeth Calhoun, Molly Elizabeth Anding, Ian Kelly Calhoun, John Scott Kelly; three great-grandchildren: John Wesley Chambers, Emerie Lynn Mingo, and Mary Huntington Chambers; his sister, Jeri Pauline Randall.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Rebecca Elizabeth Kelly; his grandson Jack Kelly; his parents; and his sister Jean Linda DeCourcey.
Jack was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 22, 1939, to Elizabeth Warfel and Horace William Kelly. He received his undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and graduate degree from Boston University. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force on September 28, 1964 and served in Japan for three years during the Vietnam war and multiple overseas tours including Mildenhall, England and NATO Headquarters in Naples, Italy. Jack retired from the United States Air Force on December 31, 1984, and went on to serve the State of Louisiana’s Office of Telecommunications Management. He was never one to shy away from hard work, he financed his education by working as a merchant marine where he learned to love the ocean and distant shores, a passion that lasted throughout his life, leaving him with plenty of “sea stories” that he happily shared with friends and family alike.
He retired to Pass Christian, MS and devoted much of his time to community work. He was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Pass Christian where he served as a deacon, usher, and cemetery historian. Jack was an active member and President of the Pass Christian Historical Association, the Pass Christian Yacht Club, The Boys and Girls Club of America, as well as numerous other social and civic organizations. He was a man of many talents, a gifted musician, gardener, and although the love of his life couldn’t dance a step, he was an excellent dancer and appeared on American Bandstand. He was known in his community as a generous spirit, a patriot, a wonderful storyteller, and a dear friend to all.
The family will be forever grateful to all those who made Jack’s end of life comfortable. He passed the way he lived, quietly and peacefully. He will be laid to rest on January 27, 2023 in a private ceremony at the Biloxi National Cemetery.
The family requests donations to the American Cancer Society or Alzheimer’s Research in lieu of flowers.
Riemann Family Funeral Home, Gulfport, is serving the family.
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