James M. Kelley

James M. Kelley (75) of Independence, Missouri passed away peacefully the morning of December 28, 2023 after battling lung cancer. A memorial service will be held for Jim on Friday, April 5th, 2024 at 1pm at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Higginsville, MO.

He is survived by his best friend and wife, Trudy (Biswell) of 38 years of marriage and their little dog Molly Marie.

James (Jim) was born at home to Bessie E. Kelley (Taft) and James E. Kelley in 1948 in Kansas City, Missouri. Jim was the oldest of 6 children, Jean (living), Linda (living) John (deceased), Earl (deceased) and Patrick (deceased).

Jim attended West Jr. High School in Kansas City, Missouri where he met Trudy in 1963 their sophomore year and became teen sweethearts. Jim attended Westport High School and entered the Navy his junior year at the age of 17. Jim served on the USS Oklahoma City, CLG5 off the coast of Vietnam in 1965 to 1966. Jim had three children with his first wife (married June 1968 to May 1985), Jeff (Dec. 1968) Julie (June 1970) and Lisa (Oct. 1972). Jim served in the Army National Guard 110th Engineers for 19 years. He rose to rank as Sargent. Sargent Kelley was proud to be part of the 110th Engineers that went to Honduras and Panama to build bridges of hope and roads of opportunities. When President Harry S Truman died December 26, 1972, Jim as a member of the National Guard respectfully stood at attention for five hours guarding President Truman’s body when he was brought from the hospital to the funeral home in Independence, Missouri.

Jim loved working crossword puzzles, and would challenge himself on the most difficult. Jim loved fishing and loved to go fishing with his grandson, Tyler Kelley who he respectfully and lovingly raised with his wife Trudy from the age of four to 19. Tyler sadly died December 25th, 2023 in an auto accident, after visiting with his grandparents, Jim and Trudy Kelley. Jim loved PBS comedy and drama series and often times when Tyler was a child you could find him and Trudy sitting with Tyler eating breakfast and watching PBS Kids, “Arthur” and “Clifford, the Big Red Dog”. Jim and Tyler loved watching cooking shows when Tyler became older and often would try out their recipes on Grandmother, Trudy. Jim loved all kinds of music from Mozart, to Willy Nelson to Jon Baptiste. Jim was an avid airplane enthusiast. Not only did he build remote control airplanes but could identify errors in dramas depicting military airplanes.

Jim was a quiet, loving and kind man of the Catholic faith, but never pushed his own belief systems on to anyone. He believed kindness, compassion and empathy transcended any religion, political party or world borders. Even though Jim was a quiet man he could hold his own in support of women’s rights, migrants rights, civil rights and veterans rights.

Jim will be missed and loved by many in the Biswell family and his friends, Rex Wiley and Judy Miller.

Trudy would want you to consider volunteering your time or giving money to the Independence Animal Shelter or the Veterans Projects: Tiny Homes, in honor of Jim’s memory.


  1. Jennifer Fisher on March 5, 2024 at 2:56 pm

    My condolences to the family .
    Uncle Jim was always pleasant to see at the family gatherings.
    May his memories bring you joy and comfort.

  2. George E Biswell on March 5, 2024 at 5:10 pm

    My drear brother in-law your sincere understanding of humanity was what I liked about you the most , Of course when you married my sister I felt it was one the most beautiful thing my sister had ever done . Up to that point in her life . May your memories be with till my time comes.

  3. Bonnie Daniels on March 5, 2024 at 8:41 pm

    Sorry for your loss. Praying God will be with you in a special and comforting way.

  4. Linda Biswell on March 5, 2024 at 9:58 pm

    This is a beautiful tribute. My condolences and prayers are with his wife Trudy, his children and their families. Rest in peace Jim 🙏

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