In Memory

John E Kelley

John E Kelley


John Ewen Kelley 71 of Port Huron passed away on Thursday, May 8, 2014 from complications following heart surgery.

Known to many as Skip or Jack, he was born April 30, 1943 to the late Edythe and John E. Kelley.  His father died when Jack was a young boy.  Edythe married J. Harland Patterson who adopted and raised Jack.

Jack was a member of Grace Episcopal Church serving as an acolyte and playing basketball in the popular church league in his teen years.

He was a history major at the University of Michigan and a member of Alpha Tau Omega.  He also studied two semesters at the University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico.

Jack proudly served his country commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army 1st Infantry Division stationed in Seoul, Korea during the Vietnam War.  Upon his return to the United States, Jack served as the Survivor Assistant for Michigan soldiers killed in the Vietnam War.

Jack married Nancy Brenner of St. Clair, Michigan on June 13, 1970 and returned to college to complete course study in Hotel Restaurant Management at Michigan State University. 

He worked for Saga Corporation for 19 years as food service director at Wittenberg College, (Springfield, Ohio), Earlham College, (Richmond, Indiana), Urbana College, (Urbana, Ohio) and Lansing Community College in Lansing, Michigan. After living in Okemos, Michigan for 14 years, Jack returned to his family home and maritime roots in Port Huron and served as the General Manager of the Thomas Edison Inn for eight years prior to retirement.

Jack's love for the community found him serving on various boards including the Downtown Development Authority, The Tourism Bureau, The March of Dimes, and the Gus Macker.  Jack and his close friend, Billy LeCaine, were the originators of the Blue Water Pow Wow and the Native American College Scholarship Fund.  He also volunteered yearly for the Silver Sticks Hockey Tournament.

Jack was a life-long outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing.  He was a skilled woodworker and the many decoys and ship models he crafted reflected his love of the outdoors and Great Lakes freighters.  Jack also spent Saturdays for 18 years at the Big House in Ann Arbor watching Michigan football with his wife and sons.

Jack is survived by his wife, Nancy, sons John E. (Molly) Kelley III of Portland, Oregon, James Patterson Kelley of Port Huron, grandson, Liam and many cousins.  He was preceded in death by his parents and daughter, Jennifer.

Additionally, for the past few months Jack and his family appreciated the kindness and professional care experienced at Marwood Nursing and Rehab and Mercy Hospital.

Funeral services officiated by Rev. Lydia Agnew Speller will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 17 at Grace Episcopal Church with inurnment immediately following in the Columbarium.  The family will receive friends in the church parlor beginning at 10 a.m.

Memorials may be made to the Grace Episcopal Church (College Scholarship Fund) or the Port Huron Museum (Fort Gratiot Lighthouse).

Arrangements are by Smith Family Funeral Home-North, 1525 Hancock St.  To send condolences, please visit