WILMINGTON — William James “Bill” Kelly, 82, passed away after a lengthy illness Thursday, April 1, 2021, at Lower Cape Fear LifeCare Center. Born on July 1, 1938, in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, Bill was the son of the late William Craig Kelly and Annie Beckwith Kelly.
He graduated from Verona High School, where he earned varsity letters in three sports. Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1956 and served on several ships, including the USS Forrestal. He served on the staff of the admiral commanding the 6th fleet in the Mediterranean Sea and its adjacent countries.
After leaving the Navy, Bill began his career in the insurance industry. He was distinguished as a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) and past president of the Wilmington Association of Life Underwriters. A resident of Wilmington since 1968, Bill served on the New Hanover County Zoning Board of Adjustments, the Municipal Golf Course Advisory Committee, and for eight years, the North Carolina Battleship Commission, where he was chairman for four of those years.
Bill is survived by his wife, Jean; son, William James Kelly Jr. (Ellen); daughters, Denise Kelly Hutson (Brad) and Lisa Kelly McLemore (Keith); and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Betty.
Due to COVID-19 concerns, a private family service will be held in Wilmington.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401.
Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.