In Memory of

William J. Kelly

July 21, 1930 - November 28, 2020


Obituary for William J Kelly

William John Kelly Jr, 90, passed away on November 28, 2020 at Carnegie Village Rehabilitation Center in Belton, MO. Services to celebrate his life will be held sometime later in 2021 when it is safer for friends and family to gather. Arrangements are being handled by Langsford Funeral Home, Lee’s Summit MO. Bill will be buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Independence, MO between his beloved Dottie (d.1980) and his oldest son Mike (d.1990).

Bill was born on July 21, 1930 in Kansas City MO to William John Kelly Sr and Margaret Berniece (Martin) Kelly. He was a lifelong resident of the Kansas City area and a devout Catholic. Bill grew up attending St. Therese Little Flower Catholic Church and grade school. He attended Rockhurst High School, graduating in 1947. Bill served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and was stationed on Guam. After serving, Bill returned to Kansas City where he finished his education at Rockhurst College and graduated in the class of 1960.

On January 16, 1954, Bill married Dorothy Dean Exler. Together, they raised five children: Mike, Tim, Pat, Greg and Katie. They bought a home in 1963 and settled in Independence MO. They were married for nearly 26 years. Bill had a bright smile and always had a bad joke, corny saying or a song at the ready.

Bill was active in the Knights of Columbus, served on the parish councils for both St. Mary’s and St. Joseph the Worker and was President of the Holy Family School Board. He supported his sons in the Boys Scouts of America and was a member of the Tribe of Mic-O-Say.

Bill spent his professional life working in the fields of insurance, risk management and tax accounting. During the 1960-70s he worked in the iconic Western Auto building in downtown Kansas City and later for Marsh & McLennan and Whitaker Cable Corporation.

Throughout his life, Bill was a true fan of baseball. He attended games from the KC Blues and Athletics to the Royals, including game 6 of the 1985 World Series. Other highlights included celebrating his 65th birthday at a night game at Wrigley Field in Chicago and being present at the induction of George Brett into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

Bill was preceded in death by his first wife, Dorothy (Exler) Kelly and son Michael Allen Kelly.

Survivors include: his second wife, Geraldine Kelly of Lee’s Summit; son Timothy Matthew Kelly of Saint Feliu de Guixois, Spain; son Thomas Patrick Kelly of Kansas City MO; son William Gregory Kelly (Jodi) of Sugar Creek MO and daughter Mary Kathleen Murphy (Michael) of Lee’s Summit; ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Bill is also survived by his two sisters: CeAnn Zanotti (Les) of Omaha NE and Kelly Bax of Overland Park, KS.

If you would like to honor Bill, the family suggests donations to Meals on Wheels Lee’s Summit or Rockhurst University. Donations to Meals on Wheels Lee’s Summit can be made by sending a check to P.O. Box 1393 Lee’s Summit MO 64063 or by visiting their website and designating in the comments field your gift is in Bill’s memory. Gifts to Rockhurst University can be made online at and selecting the option to make a gift in memory of William John Kelly or by sending a check to Rockhurst University – Office of Advancement, 1100 Rockhurst Road, Kansas City, MO 64110.


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I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your father. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.

We have great stories about dad that we laugh over. With time you smile more and cry less. Hope you’ll be able to smile soon.

He was truly one of the sweetest, most gentle, kind hearted people around. I’ll always remember him having his Oreos or chocolate donuts at the ready and he never wasn’t excited for them. He was always quite the singer. From Christmas carols to frank sinatra he could do it all. This world certainly lost one of its finest when he left,but I’m honored to have known him.

Sympathy and prayers for you and your family. My dad is one year older, so I understand how precious parents are and how much your dad will be missed.

My prayers for all of you,you already know what a great man he was
He always had a smile on his face,I enjoyed watching him visit with my dad growing up
As they say ,2 peas in a pod
God bless all of your wonderful family

It wasn’t difficult to stay awake working a night shift. Bill would sing and going in and talking with him about the songs would make him sing a little more. On Easter morning 2020 he asked if it was time for Mass. I turned his TV to the Mass being shown on TV and he was so happy to be able to watch. He will certainly be missed. I am so glad I had an opportunity to spend almost 2 years with him.

I will be offering up prayers for my cousin WJ and his family.

Losing a family member,
sibling, or friend is always sorrowful.
Blessings to all.???


Langsford Funeral Home
115 SW 3rd St
Lee’s Summit, MO 64063


Langsford Funeral Home
115 SW 3rd St
Lee’s Summit, MO 64063