Cover photo for Barbara Lee Kelley's Obituary
Barbara Lee Kelley Profile Photo
1924 Barbara 2016

Barbara Lee Kelley

January 1, 1924 — May 30, 2016

Barbara Lee Kelley, 92, died Monday, Memorial Day, 30 May, 2016 at Brighton Gardens from kidney failure. She had been with Heartland Hospice Care for several months. Visitation will begin at 9:30 am followed by the Funeral Mass at 10 am Friday, June 3rd at Visitation Church. She was born on January 1, 1924, in Kansas City, Missouri with the "will of wild birds." Even to the last, when her nephrologist told her she would die in a week if she went off dialysis, she continued to live for 3 more years. She was like that, determined, assertive, ambitious: After attending Avila for two years, out of hundreds of candidates, she tried and was chosen to be a T.W.A. hostess. After marriage and three children, she became a successful self-taught interior designer and practiced her profession for years; later, she used her artistic skills to collaborate with her husband, John R. Kelley, to create folk art: he the wood sculptor; she the painter. Their folk art became famous, appearing in books, movies, galleries, and even The White House. She leaves three children: daughter, Kathleen Kelley and husband Brayton Harris; daughter, Janice L. Downey, M.D. and finally, her son, Michael R. Kelley and wife Janet Kelley. She leaves three grandchildren: Kelley Downey, Christina Lee Kelley, and step granddaughter Megan Marcum. She was preceded in death by her spouse, John R. Kelley in 2011, and countless beloved dogs. She loved her church, Visitation Catholic church, and all of their help during the last few years of her life. She will miss gardening, and shopping, but mostly, her friends, especially Eileen and Jeff Hansen who helped her over the years, and especially, in her final days: She would not "go gently into that good night"; she "raged, raged against the dying of the light." In lieu of flowers, she would prefer donations to ASPCA and Visitation Church.

SERVICES Visitation
Friday, June 3, 2016 9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Visitation Church 5141 Main Street Kansas City, Missouri 64113
Mass of Christian Burial
Friday, June 3, 2016 10:00 AM
Visitation Church 5141 Main Street Kansas City, Missouri 64113

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