The Life of James, MD. J Kelly

Dr. James J. Kelly of the Drexel Hill section of Upper Darby, a longtime Delaware County family practitioner and World Ward II vet, died May 8 at home.

Born in Philadelphia, he was a resident of Drexel Hill for 50 years. A graduate of West Catholic High School in Philadelphia, Dr. Kelly was also a 1935 graduate of St. Joseph’s University and a 1939 graduate of Thomas Jefferson University Medical School, both in Philadelphia. He served his internship and residency at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby.

Dr. Kelly had a family practice in Darby for more than 50 years. He was previously on staff at Delaware County Memorial Hospital in Drexel Hill and at the former Mercy Community Hospital in Haverford, which he helped found. Dr. Kelly was past chairman of Mercy Community’s general practice department, past medical director of ManorCare Nursing Home in Yeadon and past medical adviser for the Sisters of Bon Secour and St. Francis Country House in Darby.

An Army Medical Corps veteran of World War II, Dr. Kelly was a major stationed on the Burma Road where he came to be known as the Burma Road Doctor by the natives who paid him with eggs for removing stray bullets from their elephants. He saved a soldier from the Swift River in India while in the service. Dr. Kelly earned an Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon with three battle stars, a campaign medal with two bronze service stars and the World War II Victory Medal.

He was a member of St. Andrew’s Church in Drexel Hill and the American Medical Association that honored him with a physician’s recognition award annually for many years starting in 1971. Dr. Kelly was also a member of the American Academy of Family Practice, the Sisters of Mercy Catherine McAuley Society, St. Joseph University’s Golden Hawk Society, the Delaware County Medical Society and the Pennsylvania Medical Society that recognized him with a 50-year award for medical service. He was a fellow with Thomas Jefferson University’s President’s Club and the American Academy of Family Physicians and a diplomat with the National Board of Medical Examiners. Dr. Kelly was a former board member at the old Mercy Community Hospital and White Horse Retirement Village in Newtown Square where he had served as vice president.

He was devoted to his family, friends and the medical profession. Dr. Kelly enjoyed his shore homes in Brigantine, N.J., boats, dogs, cats, current events and watching reporter Wolf Blitzer on CNN cable TV news. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Dick Kelly.

Survivors: Wife, Carolyn M. Dinmore Kelly; sister, Sister Katherine Kelly, OCSO of Baie St. Paul, Quebec, Canada; niece; nephew.

Service: 11 a.m. Mass Friday, St. Andrew Church, 3500 School Lane, Drexel Hill.

Visitation: 10 a.m. Friday at the church.

Burial: Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill.

Contributions: St. Andrew Church, 3500 School Lane, Drexel Hill, PA 19026.

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