Frances S. Kelly passed away peacefully of natural causes at Riverwoods in Exeter, New Hampshire on May 17, 2020, at the age of 99. Frances was born in Columbus, Ohio on April 21, 1921, to John Stuhlfauth and Frances Mary Kiely. Frances enjoyed a happy childhood with her sister Joanne despite the tragic death of two brothers at the age of 2 & 4 due to vaccination complications. She attended St. John's Elementary School and Rosary High School in Columbus, Ohio. She visited the 48 states and most national parks on childhood family excursions.
Frances matriculated at Ohio State University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics. A life-long enthusiastic Buckeye fan, she loved her Alma Mater and its song. Frances earned a Master of Science degree in Bacteriology from the University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana. She was fond of saying that more important than attaining her M.S. was her Mrs; Fran met Phil, a law student on campus. Claiming to have tried each recipe that Fran had broadcast from the University Radio Station; he mailed in suggestions on how they might be improved. Fran was married to Philip John Kelly Jr on February 26, 1949, in Columbus, Ohio. They welcomed 6 children into their lives between December 1949 and July 1963. Fran and Phil moved from Baltimore to White Plains to Elmira and then to Eastchester, NY where they made their permanent home at 28 Lee Avenue. She felt her neighbors were neighbors of the best possible sort. In the close-knit neighborhood, they bonded together in backyards and on front porches. The kids took risks and had fun. The adults looked forward to the monthly Saturday night card club.
Fran, an active parishioner at IHM Church, Scarsdale for over 60 years, was a member of the Legion of Mary and the St Veronicas Guild; she was a Eucharistic Minister and participated in adoration, a weekly Marian prayer group, and the social ministry committee. She brought meals to and visited homebound HIV patients and volunteered at Rosary Hill Home.
When Phil died suddenly at age 54, Fran continued to be the mainstay in her children’s lives. She returned to the workforce and in keeping up with the times became proficient in Wang computers. Before computer technology was the thing, Fran was often instructing young people on how to operate their computers. She worked for Union Carbide until retiring at the age 72.
Fran summered in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania where she made many long-lasting friendships on the mountain top. She saw 5 generations ride the Hardly Able and walk the Laurel Path. Her favorite pastimes were hiking, birding, and bridge. She felt her almost daily swims in the lake through the age of 98 kept her going strong.
She continued to see her sister Joanne on an annual basis in Chillicothe, Pensacola, and Eagles Mere. She traveled to Thailand, Australia, Alaska, Israel, Medjugorje, Italy, Spain, and Germany.
After 56 years of living in the 28 Lee Avenue home, Fran relocated to an independent living facility in New Hampshire close to her daughter Jean. Fran embraced her new surroundings at Riverwoods and was active in much of what Riverwoods had to offer. She especially looked forward to playing bridge, poker, and reading poetry. She remained fiercely independent and drove herself to St Michael’s Church for mass until the age of 95 and attended adoration until the age of 98.
Each grandchild held a special place in Fran’s heart. She carefully got to know each one of them as an individual with great potential, enriching their lives with her secret handshakes. Gaga, as her great-grandchildren knew her, was ageless and expected to join in whatever they were doing. Gaga played right along. Fran attributes her longevity to a profound faith in God, a positive attitude despite adversity, loyal friendships, and the love of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Fran was preceded in death by her husband, Phil, her son, Jack Kelly, and her grandson, John Cleaver Kelly. She is survived by her sister Joanne Corcoran, her son Stephen Kelly (Janet), her daughters Martha Kelly (Bogie), Mary Pollack (John), Jean Fremont-Smith (Maurice), Alice Kelly-Enright (Tom) and Jack’s wife, Ann Kelly. She is survived by her grandchildren Marisa, Kate, Maury, Philip, Cindy, Natalie, Virginia, Philip, Henry, Megan, and Sean, and by her great-grandchildren Olivia, Liam, Alec, and Nathaniel, James, Anna, Zoey, and Corina.
A private prayer service will be conducted at Stockbridge Funeral Home, 141 Epping Road, Exeter NH. (stockbridgefh.com)
The Mass of the Christian Burial (private due to Covid-19) with be streamed from St Michael’s Church on Wednesday, May 20th at 10 am. (stmichaelparish.org). Frances will be interred in the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, NY with her beloved husband Phil on May 21st.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to St Michael’s Church, 9 Lincoln Street, Exeter NH 03800, (stmichaelparish.org), or the JCK Foundation (jckfoundation.org).To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Frances A Kelly, please visit our flower store.