Winnona Marie Kelly obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Winnona Marie Kelly

March 4, 1931 - August 4, 2017

Obituary


Winnona (Winnie) was born March 4, 1931 in Freeman Missouri. She was the only child of Larry Wallace and Goldie Farr.

Winnie & her parents migrated to California then back home to Missouri for years because of job scarcity during the Depression. At first they lived in a tent, where Goldie would make it nice and homey with doilies on the crates they used for tables, sweeping the dirt floor and generally making it as cozy and comfortable as possible. Winnie was often home alone from a very young age because both of her...

Winnona (Winnie) was born March 4, 1931 in Freeman Missouri. She was the only child of Larry Wallace and Goldie Farr.

Winnie & her parents migrated to California then back home to Missouri for years because of job scarcity during the Depression. At first they lived in a tent, where Goldie would make it nice and homey with doilies on the crates they used for tables, sweeping the dirt floor and generally making it as cozy and comfortable as possible. Winnie was often home alone from a very young age because both of her parents worked. She would prepare dinner for the family to be ready when her Mom or Dad's shift ended.

By the time Winnie was in High School their lives had stabilized and they had a nice little home on Younger Ave. in San Jose. Winnie had an attic bedroom. She remembers being spoiled at that time, dropping her clothes on the floor when she was changing and "magically" they would be washed and put back (by her mother).

Winnie graduated from San Jose High School, and Healds Business College where she took courses to become a legal secretary.

She worked in a department store (including modeling for them in their fashion shows and newspaper ads), then she became a legal secretary.

She met her husband, Jim at a basketball game after being set up by friends in 1948. They dated for a long 7 years before getting married. They waited till Jim had graduated from Law School and got married in 1955 when he entered the Service during the Korean War.

They lived in a couple of different places while Jim was in the Army: Fort Sill, Oklahoma and San Leandro, California.

Their first son Dennis was born in San Leandro. Shortly after they moved back to San Jose, but soon became the Kelly family "blacksheeps" when they moved away again, a whole 5 miles away to Santa Clara!

Their second son, Jimmy, was born in 1958, and tragically died of leukemia in 1960.

Son Larry was born in 1960, and finally Sue was born in 1966.

In 1970 the family moved to a new home in Santa Clara on Maplewood Lane. Jim and Winnie designed and built the Maplewood house for entertaining. They wanted to keep the kids home and make it a fun place to be. The Maplewood house was home base for so many of us because it was comfortable.

She lived through many tragedies: (Jimmy III died in 1960)
Jim died in 1996.
Her parents died within a week of each other in 1998.
Her grandson Nick died in 2001.

After a series of strokes, Winnie was bound to a wheelchair in 2003. In 2014, Winnie decided to move to assisted living. Dementia was setting in for her. After a difficult 3 years struggling with this awful disease, she passed away on August 4, 2017 surrounded by her family.


Winnie lived a full, vibrant life. With a contagious laughter and a wicked sense of humor, it was hard to stay dismal for too long while in her company. At the Maplewood house, Winnie would welcome guests in with open arms, always insisting that they help themselves to refreshments. There was always fruit in the bowl or candy in a jar, or 7-Ups in the pool-side fridge. Come summer time she and Jim would play music through the house and serve a barbecue feast for their many friends and guests. From her humble youth to her old age, Winnie always remained classy. Yet somehow, even through her glamorous fashion trends, she was never above laughing at a racy joke or making a face at the camera. For Winnie, family and fun were the most important things in life. As members of that family, we can only hope to continue her legacy - her joy, her generosity, her strength through hardships - and keep a little piece of her with us as we continue our own journeys. If we're lucky, thanks to Winnie we'll all remember to keep a little silliness echoing through our houses, whether that house is a custom-designed family home, or a little tent with a few crates for a dining room table.

Winnie will be missed by her remaining family which include her 3 children: Dennis Kelly and his wife Paula Kelly, Larry Kelly and his wife Cecelia Kelly, Susan Calvert and her husband John Calvert. Winnie's loss will also be felt by her 5 grandchildren: Jessica Kelly, Denise Kelly,Adam Kelly, Anna Calvert and David Calvert, and her many nieces, nephews and Godchildren.

In Lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Lewy Body Dementia Association: https://www.lbda.org/donate