Mary Elizabeth Thomas Kelley, age 95, passed away on January 6, 2021 at Oakwood Village Prairie Ridge in Madison, WI. She was born on December 26, 1925 in Rolfe, Iowa, the daughter of Maude Elizabeth (Barry) and Harriss F. Thomas.
Mary graduated from Ames High School in 1943 and attended Iowa State University before her marriage to Chester Ruggles in 1946. They moved to Worcester, MA so he could attend college. She had the courage to obtain a divorce in 1960. She married Wendell Kelley in 1964 and lived in Hingham, MA for more than 40 years before moving to Keene, NH in 2013 and Madison, WI in 2018.
Mary continued to work until she was in her 80’s. She sold office products for several different companies over the years and learned to use a computer in her 60’s. Until her stroke in 2013, she balanced her checkbook to the penny every month and actually understood Medicare. Her children said she could move mountains with a TV cart and a bathmat. Her sense of adventure was a constant throughout her life and led her all over New England and across the country several times. She loved Cape Cod, road trips, and antique shops. In her later years, her favorite stories to tell involved her father and their shared love of music.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Wendell H. Kelley, her sister Cathryn C Netzley and brothers Harriss Barry Thomas and DeWayne Thomas. She is survived by her daughter Elizabeth Kelley (Jan Ketzler) and son Wendell “Sam” H. Kelley Jr. (Martina Lantin) and granddaughter Hazel Elizabeth Lantin-Kelley. She will be remembered fondly by her nieces and nephews, many friends in Massachusetts, and staff at Bentley Commons in Keene, NH and Oakwood Village Prairie Ridge in Madison, WI.
A memorial will take place this summer in Massachusetts.
The family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Oakwood and Agrace Hospice for their loving care.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Oakwood Foundation.
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