With sadness in our hearts, we announce the passing of Jim Kelly. Jim was one of the founding members of the Southwest Festival of the Written Word and the founder of the Poet Laureate program of Silver City and Grant County. He was an actor, a Navy veteran, and a gifted writer who had his own syndicated column for years.
Below are some tributes from members of the Southwest Festival of the Written Word:
“He always made me laugh and he had such great ideas about how to make projects fun and worth doing. I will miss him so much.” (Jeannie A Miller)
“He was a remarkable human being and such a great addition to Silver City.” (Susan M. Berry)
“We’ve lost one of the greats. A great friend. A great punster. A great worker. A great human being. We were so fortunate to have had Jim Kelly around.” (Tom Hester)
“I loved his humor and goodwill. He will be missed in so many ways.” (Bonnie Buckley Maldonado)
“Jim was so welcoming and generous when I joined the group. His sparkling eyes made me think he was concealing secret merriment that would soon burst out. His contributions to our world will be missed.” (Becky Young)
“Jim was a wonderful man: a kind-hearted, witty, hilarious, free-thinker.” (JJ Amaworo Wilson)
“A genuine warm-hearted man. I’ll miss him.” (Bruce Wilson)
“Jim K was one of the first people I met in Silver City and he had that incredible wit and temperament from the get go. I worked with him on a number of committees including WILL, SWFWW, and SC Community Theater. He was one of the founding members of the Friday afternoon men’s group called the Guzzling Geezers, where you had to be over 65 to guzzle. No matter what day or hour it was he always demonstrated a great love of life. He never forgot to mention that Linda was the greatest thing that happened to him. He of course would talk about his cruises, trips to Santa Fe Opera and once in a while out would pop a tale or two about his vaudeville and TV life, including being a part of the “Little House on the Prairie” series. He could always sense when a joke needed to be told to kinda brighten up your day. Seeing both Linda and Jim together, whether it be in Albertsons, Public Library, driving in the truck or wherever, they were the perfect couple enjoying life. I miss him terribly – he was one of the best!” (Ted Presler)
“I only met Jim at the SWFWW meeting once but came away with such a vivid impression of his upbeat, youthful energy, learning later of the trials and illness he dealt with on a daily basis. It was a reminder to me, his gratitude in the face of adversity, mind over matter, and the choice we have to live every day to its fullest. I feel privileged to have glimpsed that window into his positive life.” (Lynne Zotalis)
“I will never forget his wry, witty banter and the way he would ask, “How’s it going, kid?” when he entered the library.” (Lillian Galloway)
Our heartfelt condolences to Jim’s wife, Linda.