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James “Jim” Michael Kelly, 76 of Springfield, passed away from natural causes on September 13, 2023 at the home he shared with his wife in Springfield.
Prior to attending law school, Jim married Susan Croce. From this marriage, Jim’s first son, Brendan Croce Kelly, was born. After law school, Jim moved to Springfield, where he worked for a judge in the Court of Appeals. In 1974, Jim ran for Greene County Prosecuting Attorney. He won and took office in 1975 at the age of twenty-seven, making him the youngest prosecuting attorney ever elected in Greene County.
Later, Jim and Becky King were married two years later and welcomed their son, James Ryan Kelly, in 1981. In 1978, Jim ran for State Senate, narrowly losing to the incumbent. Thereafter, Jim opened his private law practice, which thrived until his retirement in 2017.
Jim is survived by his wife, Rebecca “Becky” Ann Kelly of Springfield, MO, his sons Brendan (Abi) Kelly of Chicago, Illinois, and James Ryan (Anne) Kelly of St. Louis, MO, his grandchildren Wyatt Mount Etna Kelly and Pepper Delilah Kelly of Chicago, and Katherine “Katie” Kelly and James Patrick “Jimmy” Kelly of St. Louis, his siblings, Mark Kelly and Colleen (John) Gates of St. Louis, and many beloved nieces, nephews, and friends.
A private funeral and burial will be held with only immediate family.
A Celebration of Life ceremony will follow at a later date. Gorman Scharpf Funeral Home is making final arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.