James Emmett Kelly

james kelly

February 2, 1947 ~ September 11, 2019

Resided in: Union City, California

Union City - James Emmett Kelly, 72, died September 11, 2019 of natural causes, after an extended period of poor health, at Washington Hospital in Fremont, California. He was born on February 2, 1947 in South Bend, Indiana, the son of Cyril James and Ruth Marietta (Ehredt) Kelly. He went by the name of Jim in everyday life. Jim graduated from Bellarmine High School, class of 1965, and subsequently graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in electrical engineering. He served in the Army reserves, achieving the rank of drill sergeant. Jim married Cathie Ann Coleman, originally from Woodstock, Illinois and who attended St. Mary’s College across the street from Notre Dame, in 1969, and they settled in California. They celebrated 50 years of marriage in June 2019. Jim worked for most of his professional career at US Pipe and Foundry Company in Union City, CA, achieving the position of plant manager, responsible for the entire operation of the California plant with more than 150 employees. Among Jim’s many enjoyments in life, a few of the ones that stood out were spending time with his large family on a constant basis; fishing throughout California, but especially in Niles Canyon, before they closed it, and in the Sierra Nevada mountains; gardening and maintaining his home in a way better than most could hope for; playing cards often, including bridge, euchre, and poker; watching Notre Dame football; smoking, which he regrettably was forced to give up in his forties after heart surgery, but which extended his life another 25 plus years; and drinking the very occasional beer - he only rarely went past a six pack each day. Later in his life, he also enjoyed complaining about his health, but that is understandable, given his circumstances. He will be missed. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a brother, Danny, a son, Brian, and a brother in-law Shawn. Surviving in addition to his wife, Cathie, are his son, Michael and his wife Karen, of Union City, daughters, Meg Fuentes of Union City, Mary Katherine Rodriguez and her husband Victor of Union City, Colleen Mann and her husband John of Florida; eleven grandchildren, Jason, Kathryn and Allison Kelly, Madeline and Lyla Fuentes, Julian, Claire, Ethan and Sarah Rodriguez, and Ava and Jack Mann, with another Mann grandchild on the way in early 2020; three sisters, Ann Kelly, Mary Kate Costa and her husband Mike, and Nancy Morris; a brother, Tim Kelly, and sister-in-law, Lucy Kelly; a sister -in -law, Carole Coleman and her husband Glenn, eleven nieces and nephews along with their numerous children representing many more grand-nieces and grand-nephews. A visitation will be held September 15, 2019 at Berge-Pappas-Smith Mortuary, 40842 Fremont Blvd, Fremont, CA 94538 at 3 o'clock. The following day, there will be a mass at Saint Joseph's Church, at 11:00 o’clock, followed thereafter by burial at Holy Sepulcher Cemetery located at 26320 Mission Blvd, Hayward, CA, followed thereafter by a gathering of friends at Jim and Cathie's home. All are welcome In lieu of flowers, the Kelly family requests that donations be made to the Brian Kelly Fund with New Haven Schools Foundation. Brian Kelly, the son of Jim and Cathie, attended James Logan High School and later passed away at a very young age. This fund was created by the Kelly family to honor his memory, and we know Jim would appreciate the gesture. The Brian Kelly Fund is a unique program that initially focused exclusively on supporting tutoring for high school students. Now, the focus has expanded to include literacy programs, starting at the elementary school level. Jim was famous for saying, 'If you can read, you can do anything.' The New Haven Schools Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Tax ID 94-2855611.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Meg, so sorry to hear of your fathers’ passing. Please accept our condolences and please extend them to your girls and the rest of your family. With sympathy and prayers, Karen and Michael Tramuta

  2. Sorry for your loss. I knew him well as I also spent 40 years of my life with US Pipe, most of that in Alabama. Jim was a few years older than me and I consider him as one of the many that gave me the time and education required to advance my career!

  3. Your family is in my prayers tonight as you grieve for your husband, father, grandfather. May the great love of your family and your faith sustain you now and in the days to come.

  4. So sorry for your loss.Jim was a very good friend of mine. He was a wonderful caring man with a good sense of humour. Always honest and direct. I will miss him very much. We grew to know one another over 13 years or so sharing passion for gardening growing vegetables. One of his last projects just a few months ago was to make me a self watering system for my vegetables. He told me this was his last project. My tomatoes came out better than ever from Jim’s advise. Rest in peace my friend.

  5. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Jim was a great human being that was funny, caring and was a great mentor to me at US Pipe.

  6. There’s just not enough words to express how truly saddened my family is to hear of Jim’s passing.
    Thank you Jim for being the great husband, father and grandfather that we all admired. Your tomato growing was just starting to get legendary.

  7. Jim was the first real boss I had in my career in the pipe industry. Sorry for your loss, he was the best first boss a kid could have. I learned a lot from the man and have always appreciated the opportunity he gave me to start my career. Rest In Pease and your legacy is appreciated by many. I will always remember the example of integrity you set!

  8. Very sorry to hear the news about Jim. May his soul Rest In Peace.
    We pray for peace, strength and comfort for the family.

  9. I worked for Jim from the start of my professional career and within the first week he challenged me with more responsibility than I thought I would ever want. I am forever grateful for that early trust in me that challenged me to trust myself and I will not forget it. I am certain that that was an integral part of Jim’s make up and is legacy that lives on through all he touched. Rest easy Jim. You did good.

  10. May the comfort of family and friends and all those wonderful grandchildren lighten your loss a wee bit Cathie. And my condolences for all of you during this time of loss. My prayers are with you all.

  11. Jim was such a kind, thoughtful, and caring man — a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. Both he and Cathie built a strong and amazing family.
    He was a dear friend and neighbor to me for 43 years. I so miss Jim’s daily ritual of tending to his tomato and vegetable garden.
    May your faith, love, and memories give to you, his family, the strength to get through these difficult times.

    “When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.”

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