Jack Anthony Kelley was born to Jack A. Kelley and Mary C. Barker Kelley on January 1, 1940 in Iowa Park, Texas. He was a determined, outgoing, and hard-headed child who constantly kept everyone around him on their toes. These are traits that he instilled in the lives of everyone he touched. He met a striking young lady at Texas A&I Kingsville and fell head over heels in love.
He married Judith Elizabeth Cox on September 1, 1962. They were married for 61 years and stood together through life’s hills and valleys, trials and triumphs. One of Jack’s greatest honors was serving our great nation from 1963-1968 during the Vietnam Era as a B52 Navigator in the US Air Force. His family can still hear him singing “The U.S. Air Force”. Jack and Judy moved to Devine, Texas in 1972 where he began working as the Director of Environment, Health, and Safety at Southwest Foundation For Biomedical Research. His family remembers feeding the baboons McDonald’s french fries fondly! After his retirement from SWFBR, he worked for Science Applications International Corporation which took him around the world. He later began his own consulting company where he did consulting work with organizations such as NASA, Cedar Sinai Medical Center, among others. Jack was active in his community as a member of First Baptist Church of Devine as a Deacon, choir member, and a youth Sunday school teacher. Jack’s hobbies included fishing, skiing, and traveling. He loved being in the driver’s seat and on the CB during the long drives with his family. He also volunteered his time ministering to those who were incarcerated. Most importantly, Jack was saved in 1973 while reading Psalm 34 and dedicated his life to serving the Lord. He wrote a note in his Bible saying: “It is my firm belief that from the moment I was saved, my job is to BECOME MORE LIKE JESUS until the moment he takes me home. To know him and make him known.”
Jack was preceded in death by both of his parents, his grandson Andrew Jack Hensley, and his nephew Ronnie Cox. He is survived by his wife Judith Elizabeth Kelley; his daughter Laura Lee and husband Gregg Hensley of Kingwood, TX; his son Jack “Buddy” Kelley and his wife Sandra of Bay City, TX; as well as his grandchildren, Kaye (Matt) Cowley, Phillip (Megan) Hensley, Bridgette Kelley, Jackson (Amy Jo) Kelley, Garrison Kelley, and Bryson Kelley; his brother-in-law Kenneth L. Cox, his niece, Cindy Alford, and cousins Helen Nichols and Jim Kelley. Jack also has five great-grandsons: Hayden Hensley, Baylor Hensley, Jonas Hensley, Jack Cowley, and Brett Kelley.
There will be a visitation at Primrose Funeral Home in Devine, Texas from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Thursday, November 16, 2023. The funeral service will be on Friday, November 17, 2023, at 2:00 pm at First Baptist Church of Devine, Texas. The interment will follow at Pearsall Cemetery in Pearsall, Texas.