James Edward “Ed” Kelly, age 88, passed away peacefully on January 17, 2024 in Nashville, TN, surrounded by his loving family. Born October 31, 1935, in Vinton, VA, he was the youngest child of Robert Lee Kelly & Lola Mae Roach Kelly.
Ed was a beacon of compassion and generosity, and he believed deeply in the value of kindness. His warm smile and thoughtful nature touched the lives of all who knew him. He spent his life devoted to his family, always putting their needs and happiness first. His unwavering support and love were the foundation of the family. Ed was a devoted husband and loved his wife immensely. As a father, he was adored by his son. Whether coaching little league sports, helping with schoolwork, playing golf, or simply spending time at home, he was always involved and present in their lives. His warmth and sense of humor will be dearly missed.
His Christian faith ran deep. He served as a deacon for 26 years as well as an elder for 7 years at Three Chopt Church of Christ (formerly Hermitage Road Church of Christ) in Richmond, VA, and later was a member at Berry’s Chapel Church of Christ in Franklin, TN. During this journey, he led by example and volunteered much of his time maintaining finances for the Church. Ed was a mentor to many men and frequently sought opportunities to help others in times of need. He and his wife, Anne, held many close relationships with their friends in Richmond, and they enjoyed going out to lunch or hosting dinner parties.
Ed had many talents and hobbies throughout his life. He cherished his time at Virginia Tech and was passionate about college football, holding season tickets for almost 50 years. During his time in college, he developed many friendships through his participation with the school’s military band, The Highty-Tighties. In fact, he frequently joined alumni reunion events marching at half-time games as recently as 10 years ago. He also loved cars, boats, and fishing with his friends and family.
Throughout his professional career, Ed achieved both success and personal fulfillment, retiring from the Virginia State Police in 2006 as Chief Internal Auditor. He was specifically described by the colonel as the “template of the consummate gentleman.” In addition, he maintained a separate side business as a tax accountant for many years.
He is preceded in death by his siblings Fred Kelly, Howard Kelly, Roberta Straughen, Edith Borden, Rachel Allen, and Robert Kelly Jr.
He is lovingly remembered by his wife of 53 years, Anne Tolley Kelly of Christiansburg, VA now living in Nashville; son, Paul (Sheri) Kelly of Brentwood, TN; granddaughters, Charlotte and Berkley Kelly, as well as nieces and nephews including Bonnie Straughen, Kelly Straughen, Robert “Bob” Kelly III, Richard Kelly, and Brad Tolley. A funeral service to celebrate Ed’s life will be held at 3:00 pm Monday, January 29, 2024, at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home. Family and friends are invited to visitation one hour prior to the service.
Our family wishes to extend our sincere and heartfelt gratitude to the many dedicated health care professionals at NHC Place at the Trace and FirstLight Home Care, who provided such loving care to Ed.