John Townsend Kelley III, 77, lived in Austin for the last two decades of his life. After a courageous 25-year battle with emphysema and related illnesses, he passed away peacefully on Sept. 28 surrounded by his immediate family.
John T. Kelley was born in Taylor, Texas, to John T. and Margaret Stone Kelley on Sept. 24, 1940. When John was a toddler his father left to fight in the war, so John and his mother moved to Waco to be closer to family.
After the war, John’s family moved to El Paso where his father was an orthodontist. John was very athletic and enjoyed playing many sports, ranging from football to running track.
He graduated from El Paso High where he met the love of his life, Marjorie Gillett from Canutillo. John and Marge went to the University of Texas at Austin together where they developed a love of the school and all Longhorn sports. John was a proud member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
Eventually it was the University of Texas at El Paso where John earned his bachelor’s degree. He started his professional career working for his father-in-law at Gillett Chevrolet.
John decided that the car business wasn’t for him, and he began a career in commercial real estate as a broker with his childhood friend, William D. Sanders. Bill started IDC Real Estate and ran the El Paso office, teaching John.
As an active member of the community, John was involved with the El Paso Community Foundation, the Sun Bowl Association, the University of Texas at El Paso Alumni Association, and the Longhorn Foundation. After retiring from IDC, John heard the real estate world calling him back, and with Bill wanting to start another company, they ran La Salle Partners Incorporated for many years. After a second retirement, John decided to start another company, and he founded Security Capital Group. A few years later, Bill got involved and it evolved.
John’s favorite job was being grandfather to his four granddaughters. He was called Tio by his granddaughters. Tio took the girls on trips to Del Mar and La Jolla, California, attended school and sporting events, treated them with Krispy Kreme donuts and ice cream and indulged their love of American Girl dolls.
John Kelley was preceded in death by his parents, brother, Danny, and grandparents. He is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Marge and their children Marjann Kelley Cooper and Bryan Kelley, son-in-law Michael Cooper, and granddaughters Marley Kelley, Amelia Kelley, Caroline Cooper, and Catherine Cooper. Other family members include his brother James Kelley of El Paso, sister Margaret Ann Tipton of Austin, and brother-in-law Ron Gillett of Anthony, New Mexico, along with several nieces, nephews.
The family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to Dr. David Pohl, pulmonologist, who was John’s doctor and friend. Dr. Pohl took excellent care of John and always went above and beyond to ensure that John got the best care possible.
A family burial was held Oct. 3 and proceeded the memorial service at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 3201 Windsor Rd. Honorary pallbearers are John Fainter, Jim Gallagher, Robert Johnson, Homer Salome, Bill Sanders, John Schweitzer, Duncan Spiller, Bob Wade and Tom Wicker.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Helping Hand Home of Austin or the El Paso Community Foundation.
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