Jim Kelley, class of 1955, is a family man – always has been. From an early age, Jim learned the importance of family. When Jim was 17, he lost his father. At that time, Jim decided to postpone college plans for a year to stay at home in Brasher Falls, N.Y., and take care of his mother and five sisters. After graduating from St. Bonaventure with a business degree, Jim felt it was his duty to serve in the military. After two years in the Army, Jim tried out a few different careers. After yearlong stints with both the State of New York and General Electric, Jim arrived at General Motors, where he would spend the next 30 years. One of the best benefits of working at GM for Jim was that it introduced him to his wife, Judy, with whom he has two sons and two daughters.
At St. Bonaventure, Jim formed many close relationships. He remembers specifically Fr. Fidelis O’Rourke, O.F.M., first dean of the School of Business. Jim recalls, “I really learned a lot from him. He taught law and his mentoring provided the foundation of a lot of my decisions later in life. Because I came from a small town, I didn’t understand much about the way things worked in the business world. But, with Fr. O’Rourke’s mentorship, I learned so much that helped me in my career.”
Jim has been happily retired for some time and enjoys traveling with his wife and kids, belonging to a car club in Florida (where everyone is quite jealous of his classic GM Corvair and Chevy Vega), and staying in touch with friends and his St. Bonaventure family every five years at reunions.
He particularly recalls one reunion where the St. Bonaventure gift annuity program was introduced. After learning more about the lifetime payments and tax benefits a gift annuity can provide and because of his desire to support St. Bonaventure, Jim decided on a gift. Jim states, “The older you get, I think annuities get more attractive. They provide a tremendous way to have security for myself and for my wife, while supporting an organization that means a great deal to me. The tax benefits are great, and I have never regretted having the gift annuities.”
Family remains important to Jim, and his gift annuity with St. Bonaventure University allows him to provide for himself and his family now and for St. Bonaventure in the future. As Jim says, “With the payments I receive, I can put the money into my savings.”