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James "Jim" Colin Kelly

July 23, 1943 ~ July 2, 2021 (age 77)


James “Jim” Kelly


It is with the reluctant understanding that all things must pass, that we sadly announce the passing of James Colin Kelly (Jim) after a long journey with Parkinson’s on Friday, July 2, 2021, at the An Cala Palliative Care Unit of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. Jim was born in North Sydney on July 23, 1943, to the late Francis and Evelyn (née Reid) Kelly. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 50 years, Joanne (née Kirkpatrick); three children, Joshua (Andrea Colley), Ananda (Duncan Gillis), and Maria (Justin Ford); grandchildren, Campbell, Griffin, Tristan, Evelyn, Bodhi, Rohan, and Oona; brothers, Lawrence (Gail Kelly) and Danny (Mary Kelly); sisters, Colleen (Adrian Gordon), Anne (Paul McKiel), Sandra (Deb Murray), Peggy (John Kibyuk), and Kathy (Tom Green); many beloved nieces and nephews; and, his special aunt, Meril Reid. In addition to his parents, Jim is predeceased by his brothers Pat (Gloria Gavin) and Fred (Beverly Wilson).

Jim was a learned and cultured man, a thinker, philosopher, writer, storyteller, teacher, artist, world traveler, sailor, diplomat, lover of the fine arts, the Gaelic language and Celtic heritage, and skilled at working with his hands. By any measure, Jim led an exceptional and accomplished life. He travelled the world extensively, initially as a merchant mariner, and then during his long career with the federal government. He was employed with the Canadian Coast Guard in numerous roles before his eventual retirement as Director of International Relations in 2001. Jim was also committed to his community through his involvement with New Dawn, Celtic Colours, and the Marconi Museum, to name a few.  

Jim was a protector, a provider, a friend, and a man of deep faith. Most notably, he was a loving family man with humble roots. He was devoted to the family he came from in North Sydney, to the family he raised in Sydney River, and to his seven grandchildren. He showed his devotion in many ways, especially through his generosity, wisdom, active listening, and most of all, through his love.

The family would like to pay special thanks to the many caregivers who helped Jim in his last four years, especially Carol and Mat, the VON, his Boxing for Parkinson’s community, the Palliative Care team at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, and the many family members and friends who were there for him.

Visitation for Jim will be held from 3 – 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 15, 2021 in the W.J. Dooley FuneralHome, 107 Pleasant Street, North Sydney. A funeral service to be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021 at St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Church, 40 Cabot Street, Sydney, with Father Bill Burke officiating. The service may be viewed online by going to our Facebook page or by following this link: Covid-19 restrictions will be followed with the wearing of masks and social distancing.  Burial will follow in Holy Cross Cemetery, Johnson Road, North Sydney. Memorial donations can be made to Parkinson’s Canada:, or the Hospice Palliative Care Society of Cape Breton: Online condolences may be sent to the family at

“Like the rose petal keeps its fragrance even after the flower dies, so the soul lives on even after the body leaves.”


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Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for James "Jim"

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July 15, 2021

3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
W. J. Dooley Funeral Service Ltd.
107 Pleasant St
North Sydney, NS B2A 1L9

Funeral Mass
July 16, 2021

11:00 AM
St. Marguerite Bourgeoys
40 Cabot Street
Sydney, NS B1P 4G6

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