James C. “Buddy” Kelly

James C. “Buddy” Kelly

Running in the DP on Sunday.

On Sunday, March 28, 2021, the Lord called Colonel (US Army, Retired) James “Buddy” Kelly home. Buddy was born on August 4, 1945, in Jackson, MS, the youngest child of James Cazell Kelly Jr. and Belvia Overby Kelly. The highlight of his high school career was his participation in Junior ROTC, which prepared him for a lifelong leadership role and cemented his desire for a military career. Buddy continued with Army ROTC at Ole Miss where he was Cadet Brigade Commander. He graduated from Ole Miss with a BA degree in Social Studies in 1967 and an MS in School Administration in 1969 and entered active duty on March 6, 1969. Buddy served his country with distinction on active duty for 30 years, serving multiple assignments in the US, Vietnam, and Europe, culminating in his last assignment at Ft. Monroe. He received numerous medals and decorations including three Legions of Merit and the Bronze Star. His favorite assignment , though, was his first tour at Ft. Bragg, NC where he met and married the love of his life, Vicky Seiler, on June 25, 1977.

Upon retirement in 1999, he threw himself into the only job he really wanted, spoiling Vicky, doing so with every fiber of his body until the Lord called him home. Buddy never met a stranger and loved the Lord with all his heart, mind, and soul. A faithful member of Libertylive Church, he rededicated his life to Christ and was baptized in 2008. He enjoyed serving and helping others whenever he could. Buddy reflected Christ and was an encourager to many. He loved to drive his BMW to the thrift shops to dig for treasures, golf, play cards, fish, and root for his Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees.

Buddy was predeceased by his parents and his sisters, Helen Stodghill and Betty Jo Arnold. Left to mourn his loss are his devoted wife, Vicky; his daughter, Jennifer Celeste (Eddy) Zigmont of Clinton, NC; son, James Craig Kelly of Wilmington, NC; and granddaughter, Logan Zigmont (Kevin) Davenport; along with numerous close friends and his sweet dog, Hershey.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 9, 2021, at 11 am, at LibertyLive Church, 1021 Big Bethel Rd, Hampton, VA and via live stream,
Interment will follow in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or LibertyLive Church Building Fund.