In Memory

James Steven Kelly

James Steven Kelly

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09/06/09 03:12 PM #1    

Milton W Bush

Steve's story is tragic, age 25. May 1970, an afternoon of beers with a buddy; watching tv; just snacks and no real food; 6 PM going to Briggs Stadium from Flint. 6:15 Flint expressway - crash into unprotected bridge abutment at high speed; dead.

He was the older son of James and Janet Kelly, Lapeer Road. Steve was happy-go-lucky, carefree and fun-loving. His parents and younger brother, Chuck, were a bit the opposite: reserved, a bit quiet, careful, though cordial all the time. James was a lawyer for about 20 years and a judge for the same length, or so. Janet was a Social Studies / Sociology instructor at SC-4 forever. She was one of the department movers and shakers. Chuck has been a first rate attorney for decades.

After high school, I think Steve sold carpets in Port Huron for a year or two. Then, the National Guard may have snagged him for a few years. He and his wife lived in a Flint area apartment for about four years. He sold carpets. Business was a bit slow. They were saving up dollars to buy a house. No kids; house first.

Going to the ball game was a late idea that day. It started at 7. The stadium was more than an hour away. They had a six-pack in the Chevy Nova - a tiny, tinny, car. James asked us to look into the facts in Flint. The front end of the car was gone, back to the back seats. My report was devastating, and crushed James to tears. We all shared the tears. I gave James the envelope with everything. It was so terribly sad.

The friend survived, but with very bad injuries. His pain was so bad, he could barely speak a word. That was Hurley Hospital, intensive care, day 5.

Milt Bush

11/10/09 08:25 PM #2    

John Chidester

On Veteran's Day, 2009, we remember you and your service in the Armed Forces of the United States.

11/21/09 01:13 PM #3    

Joel S Ellingboe

Steve was one of my best (if not my best) friend during high school. I attempted to locate him in the mid 70's and called his parents. His dad told me Steve had been killed a few years back, it was like someone kicked me in the stomach. Steve and I were generally together on Friday or Saturday nights and beer was almost always on the agenda. Sadly, that may have contributed to his death. Only by the grace of God that didn't happen to us earlier. Steve and I had plans to join the Marine Corp upon graduation but because of my circumstances at the time we never did. Steve was a fantastic guy and a true friend, I will always miss him. Alcohol sure does exact a price, it did on me.

01/23/10 02:06 PM #4    

Kurt W Gorbutt

Steve and I were friends in High School and managed to get in our share of trouble. Steve went in the MARINES in late '61. We were due out at about the same time, but he caught an extension and spent it in Nam. When Steve got home in spring of '66, he called me and said " Two things I want to do; Kick your ass and drink some 'Dr Busch' " (Budwieser). We did plenty of that. He had shrapnel in one knee and he'd prop his leg up on a chair (or bar stool) and I'd push on it 'til it popped. It's wierd the things you remember.
I was with Steve when he met his wife. I was Steves Best Man and pallbearer.
I think of you often buddy. You are missed.
Kurt Gorbutt

07/14/14 06:43 AM #5    

Joseph C Harwood

Steve & I grew up in the same neighborhood & attended same schools (Jefferson, PHHS). We were close friends in Jr. High. He was a very bright guy with loads of potential. We sure had fun in the old neighborhood around Lincoln and 10th Ave.  I'll never forget the time Steve "borrowed" his dad's new 1956 Chevy and we drove around town-what fun!  Steve had disconnected the odometer cable and reconnectyed it after our journey. I don't believe his dad ever found out. During winter time we threw more than a few snowballs at cars on 10th Ave. from Jefferson Jr. High playground. We were lucky no accidents ever occurred.


07/15/14 09:15 AM #6    

Cornelia West (Wood)

Reading Joe Harwood's recollections of Steve reminded me of our Garfield and PHHS days. Steve and I dated (as much as you could when we we weren't even old enough to drive yet!) from 9th grade at Garfield until some time during our first year of high school. I remember that he never wanted to learn to dance, which was one of our big activities back then. We stayed in touch from time to time right up to my junior year in Ann Arbor. The last time I saw Steve was in PH, when my husband and I had come to spend Thanksgiving with my mom and dad. We talked a bit and learned that we both lived in Chicago - only about a block away from each other! But, we never ran into each other, even at the neighborhood Kroger store where we both shopped. Small world..... My dad called me in Georgia to tell me about Steve's death - I was so shocked and sorry he was gone. Wrote a note to his folks and received a very nice reply from them. I still remember the fun we had during those Garfield and PHHS years and am glad others have also shared fond memories of good times with Steve.

01/18/24 11:20 PM #7    

Ralph R Stevenson

I remember Steve from Jefferson School. We lived three blocks apart. We didn't have TV but the Kellys did. We watched Queen Elizabeth's coronation at his house.  We were budding chemists and somehow something from his chemistry set got in my eye.  His mother was worried and called the doctor. Then she saved my sight by pouring water on my eye. For fifth grade we moved to Strawberry Lane so I continued my chemistry experiments without his help, mostly making various explosives.  From which I survived several close calls... 

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