Cover photo for James Kelley's Obituary
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1928 James 2018

James Kelley

November 20, 1928 — July 28, 2018

James W. Kelley               James W. Kelley, age 89, of Wharton, died Saturday, July 28, 2018, while in hospice care in Sugar Land, TX. He was born on November 20, 1928, in Jayton, Texas, the eighth child of the late David Laurence and Lou Jane Kelley.             He married Barbara Ellen Whiddon on August 26, 1951, at the First Baptist Church in Boling, Texas. They were married for 56 years until her death in 2007. He came to Boling in 1950 to work in the oil fields for Standard Production, which later became Humble Oil and then Exxon Company, U.S.A. He worked for Exxon for 30 years before retiring in 1986. He was a resident of Wharton County, specifically Boling, for most of his adult life, except for a period of 16 years when he and his family lived in Tomball, Texas. He and Barbara returned to the Boling area in 1987 where he raised cattle and hay, and she owned and operated Whiddon Insurance Agency.             In 2009, he married Betty Ross Preisler, and they resided in Wharton until her death in March of this year.             Mr. Kelley loved fishing, hunting, playing dominoes and cards, watching nature, and eating homemade cookies and pies. Most of all, he loved his Lord, his family and friends, and his church.             Visitation is scheduled for Friday, August 3 from 5:30-7:30 P.M. at Wharton Funeral Home. Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, August 4 at 11:00 A.M. at First Baptist Church of Wharton with Rev. Tony Wishert officiating. Burial will follow in the Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery in Wharton.             The family wishes to thank Encompass Hospice Care, especially his nurse Susan and his Care Nurse Denise, for their unending support, love, and care over the last seven months.             Survivors include his daughter, Sharon Shafer of Hempstead; son, Dennis Kelley and wife Melinda of Wharton; daughter Judy Leber and husband Fred of Sugar Land; sister-in-law Marilyn Lacour of Houston; grandchildren, Trey Kelley, Tennielle Lee, David Lee, Sophia Garfield, Madelyn Shafer, Monte “Bud” Shafer Jr., Katie Davis, James Womack, Erick Leber, Crystal Leivas, and Steven Marn; 16 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren and numerous loving nieces and nephews.             Pallbearers are the Deacons of First Baptist Church of Wharton. Honorary pallbearers include James Womack, Erick Leber, Steven Marn, Trey Kelley, David Lee, and Monte “Bud” Shafer.             If desiring, memorials may be sent to First Baptist Church of Wharton, 507 North Fulton, Wharton, Texas 77488 or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Funeral services are under the direction of the Wharton Funeral Home                        
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Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, August 3, 2018

5:30 - 7:30 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

First Baptist Church of Wharton

507 North Fulton Street, Wharton, TX 77488

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