Member Biography

James Reeves Kelley 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1974       39 Democrat
1975       39 Democrat
1976       39 Democrat
1977       39 Democrat
1978       39 Democrat
1979       39 Democrat
1980       39 Democrat
1981       39 Democrat
1982       39 Democrat
1983       39 Democrat
1984       39 Democrat
1985       39 Democrat
1986       39 Democrat
1987       39 Democrat
1988       39 Democrat

COUNTIES: Westmoreland, Indiana  


05/31/1931 - 11/01/2023

Judge James Reeves Kelley (D39) Westmoreland (Part) County 1974-1982 (D39) Indiana (Part) and Westmoreland (Part) Counties 1983-1988

Early Life:

Judge James Reeves Kelley, born May 31, 1931, raised principally, Kenwood section, Chevy Chase, Montgomery County, Maryland; son of Augustine B. and Ella Marie Kelley; Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, B.A.; Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, Washington, District of Columbia, LL.B.; elected, Westmoreland County Commissioner, 1968-1974; elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1974-1988; member, Democratic National Committee, 1972-1980; appointed, judge, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 1990, elected, 1991-2011; married, Patricia A. Phillips Kelley, children, Hilary Kelley Querry, Melissa Kelley, Brendan Kelley, Colin Kelley, Alicia Kelley McConnell, Justin Kelley; died, November 1, 2023; Greensburg Catholic Cemetery, Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.

Early Life:

Admitted to practice before, United States Supreme Court, courts, District of Columbia, all federal, Pennsylvania courts; member, American, Pennsylvania and Westmoreland Bar Associations.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, Westmoreland County Commissioner, 1968-1974. 

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, Special Election, 39th district, Westmoreland (Part) County, vacancy, John Scales resigned, February 4, 1974, seated, June 17, 1974-1982; committee assignments, Community and Economic Development, Judiciary, Law and Justice (Minority Chairman), State Government. 

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 39th district, Indiana (Part) and Westmoreland (Part) Counties, 1983-1988; committee assignments, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Environmental Resources and Energy, Finances (Minority Chairman). 

Appointed, judge, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 1990, unexpired term of Judge Francis A. Barry. 

Elected, judge, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, 1991, full term beginning January 1992; subsequently served a second 10-year term; upon reaching age 70, appointed, senior judge, Commonwealth Court.

Senior Judge, Westmoreland County, 2007-2011.


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members K"Wilkes University Election Statistics ProjectWilkes University.

The Pennsylvania Manual, Ackley, G. (Editor). (1980-1981). (Volume 105). Department of General Services. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Page 89. Biographies of Members of the Senate, page 71. 

The Pennsylvania Manual, (1987-1988). Doukas, O., (Editor). (Volume 108). Department of General Services. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, page 101. Biographical Sketches of Senators, page 82.

James R. Kelley Obituary 2023 - Kepple Graft Funeral Home

Hon Judge James R. Kelley (1931-2023) - Find a Grave Memorial