BJ Kearns, age 75, of Kelley, IA, passed away peacefully at Green Hills Retirement Community Thursday, May 25, 2017. A visitation will be held Wednesday, May 31, 2017 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church (2900 Hoover Ave., Ames, IA 50010). A funeral mass will follow visitation on Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m. at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church. Burial will follow services in the Ames Municipal Cemetery.

BJ was born April 20, 1942, in Anamosa, Iowa, to James and Mary (McNabb) Kearns. She graduated from Collins High School in 1960, she was active in choir and band and she enjoyed playing the piano and accordion in her free time. In high school, she also played on the 6-on-6 basketball team. BJ earned her BA from ISU in Leisure Services, and her MA from ISU in Ag Education. She played Bell Lyre with the ISU Marching Band the first year women were allowed to march, and continued with the ISU Alumni Marching Band for many years.

BJ worked at ISU in Curtiss Hall as a secretary, and her love of animals led to her raising her own cow/calf herd of horned Herefords, BJ always had dogs and cats around her. She coached Parks and Rec basketball in Ames and Gilbert for many years. Most recently, BJ volunteered at a local radio station KHOI, where she hosted a weekly show called “An Evening With Elizabeth” She featured her extensive vinyl record collection and gave interesting facts and stories about the music, the composers, and the artistes. She also hosted a show featuring only polka music.

BJ was a member of St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Ames, Iowa, and an active member of 4-H.

BJ is survived by her sister MaryAnn (Bob) Heintz Gardner, and many nieces and nephews, as well as numerous cousins.

BJ is preceded by her parents, a brother-in-law Sam Heintz, and a great-niece Melissa Flynn Viers.

Memorial contributions can be made in BJ’s name to St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church, the ISU Alumni Marching Band, Story County 4-H, or to KHOI Radio Station.

Online condolences and thoughtful memories can be shared on BJ’s page at