Raised in San Mateo, CA and a resident of San Jose, CA, James "Jim" Kelso passed away on
Sunday, October 4, 2020 in his long time Almaden Valley home in the Crossgates neighborhood.
He is survived by his ever-loving wife Helen, of 63 years; five sons - Timothy (Margaret),
Michael, Patrick (Elizabeth), Christopher (Lisa), and Matthew (Heather); seven grandchildren -
Carl, Jennifer, Catherine, Danielle, Dominique, Rose, and Nicholas; four great-grandsons -
Clayton, Samuel, Benjamin, and Eric.
After graduating from Serra High School in San Mateo, Jim completed his Bachelor's Degree in
Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. In 1956, he started his career working on large
steam turbines with General Electric in Schenectady, NY. He then moved his young family to
Canoga Park, CA in 1962 to work for Rocketdyne at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory where he
was involved with the Atlas and Saturn V rocket engines used in the early space program
leading to the Apollo moon landings. In 1966, Jim was recruited by an old Stanford mentor to
move his growing family north and work with the San Jose GE Nuclear program where he spent
the bulk of his distinguished career. After retirement from GE in 1994, he continued working as
a consultant for EPRI until he was 83 doing the work he loved while instructing and creating a
legacy by writing a mechanical maintenance training guide for the turbine on which he spent
the majority of his career.
As a proud graduate, he was a Stanford football season ticket holder for over 50 years where he
could be found in the stadium every home game until the clock showed 0:00 no matter the
weather, score or type of season. As a father and neighbor, he was a long-time contributor to
the Crossgates Gators Swim Team, keeping the pool running and happily shooting the gun to
start races for nearly 20 years. He traveled much of the world with his wife, but he was always
happiest to just be at home with her by his side.
In honor of Jim and in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to his high school using the website listed below. Contributions to the memorial program will help fund financial aid for
deserving families. Private services have already been held.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Kelso, please visit our floral store.