Obituary James L. Kays Pinehurst

James L. Kays- January 2, 1941-January 6, 2021.  After fighting a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s, our hero Brigadier General (BG) Retired (R) James Kays passed away peacefully on 6 January 2021 at his home in Pinehurst, NC surrounded by his beloved wife, Jeane, and his family.

BG(R) Kays’ Distinguished Army Career spanned over 40 years of military and civilian service. He served over 36 years in uniform, including a combat tour in Vietnam and culminating as the founding professor and head of the United States Military Academy (USMA) Systems Engineering Department at West Point, NY where he not only inspired analytical and academic excellence but dedicated 26 years of his life to the 150lb/Sprint Football team as both a player and Head Officer Representative. In 1990 the League’s MVP award was named after him. Appropriately, to honor his unquestioned love of West Point, BG (Ret) Kays was wearing a ‘Beat Navy’ tee-shirt as he took his last breath. He concluded his civilian Army career in the Senior Executive Service (SES) as the Dean of the Graduate School of Engineering and Applied Science at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA.  General Kays was a mentor to hundreds of cadet-athletes, graduate students and soldiers. He was a man of honor, brilliance, and kindness; and inspired us all to be a better version of ourselves.

Jim was born in Rogers, Arkansas on January 2, 1941. He is predeceased by his father, Lee George; his mother, Helen Agnes, and his only brother John Stanley (Buddy). He is survived by his wife, Jeane Abigayle; his daughter Christy and her three sons – Jimmy, John, and Michael; his elder son Michael, daughter-in-law, Vanessa and their daughters – Brittany, Anneliesa, and Olivia; and his younger son John, daughter-in-law, Danielle and their two daughters -Victoria and Gracie. May our American hero, loving husband, giving father, inspiring grandpa, and loyal friend Rest in Peace.

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Services are entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines.

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