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 www.mealsonwheelsls.org and designating in the comments field your gift is in Bill’s memory. Gifts to Rockhurst University can be made online at www.rockhurst.edu/give 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.