She met the love of her life, Robert Kelley, in 1938 at the White Mountain hamlet of Waterville Valley. Devoted wife of 59 years, she hiked alongside her husband, or waited at trail’s end, as he completed the Long Trail and other major hikes. Theirs was an active life together: golfing, attending symphony and opera, biking, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowshoeing, camping, and canoeing. They enjoyed traveling together as well, exploring natural wonders and visiting family. They traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Alaska, Banff, Oregon, Florida, and Nova Scotia. They raised their family in Ridgewood, NJ, and then moved to Fairfield, CT, in 1971. Upon retirement, they moved full time to their beloved home of 26 years in Whitingham.
Mrs. Kelley enjoyed participating in the community through Ladies Aid, Red Hat, and fun times with friends. An avid birder and naturalist, Mrs. Kelley was secretary of the Greenfield Hill Garden Club and volunteered for the Audubon children’s naturalist program.
Mrs. Kelley’s greatest love was her family. She was also an accomplished hostess, homemaker, and gardener, known in Whitingham for her lovely lupine blooms. She is remembered for her generous spirit, sweet nature and strong, positive attitude. She was a courageous woman who was forever appreciative. In the words of one grandson: “I feel forever blessed by Grammy’s beautiful sweet caring spirit, and in this way feel a great sense of connection to [family], for she touched us all!”
Survivors include four children, Carolyn Nissley (husband James), of Tarpon Springs, FL, Nancy Kelley-Gillard (husband Dan), of Keene, NH, Robert Kelley (wife Gayle), of Portland, OR, and Joanne Clark, of Whitingham; 17 grandchildren, Michael, Jennifer, Jeff, Patrick, Ryan, John, Katie, Megan, Liza, Bill, Erik, Ryan, Elisa, Bonnie, Robin, Jessica, and Erin; 20 great-grandchildren, David, Andrew, Katie, Kristen, John, Brooke, Torrey, Ciara, Fisher, Will, Grayson, Clayce, Jack, Olivia, Alex, Sam, Jake, Charlotte, Harriet, and Sullivan; sister-in-law, Elizabeth Persons, of Columbus, OH; cousins, Connie Perrigo, Cliff Cooke, and Nancy Allen; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
A memorial service will be held at Jacksonville Community Church on January 11, at 1 pm. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Jacksonville Community Church, Whitingham Free Public Library or Brattleboro Area Hospice.