Dr. Nancy R. Kelly (1951 - 2014)

  • "Nancy Kelly was a long-time professor of mine who has..."
    - Paul Daley
  • "To Nancy's Family and Friends; I am so very sorry to hear..."
    - Betty McGuirk
  • "Aunt Nancy was such a lovely and special person. She was..."
    - Nate Malavenda
  • "Healing prayers and wishes to Nancy's family on your sudden..."
  • "Dear, dear Nancy, my colleague, mentor and forever friend. ..."

Dr. Nancy R. Kelly
of Westminster; 62

WESTMINSTER -- Dr. Nancy R. Kelly, 62, of Westminster passed away unexpectedly on Friday, July 4, 2014 in Leominster Hospital.

Nancy was born in Fitchburg on November 11, 1951, a daughter of the late J. Francis and M. Dorothy (McGuirk) Kelly. She received her Bachelor of Philosophy degree Phi Beta Kappa from Wayne State University in 1973, her Master of Arts in Teaching (English) from Fitchburg State College (now Fitchburg State University) in 1980, and her Doctorate of Philosophy in English from the University of Massachusetts in 1991. She was previously employed at Holy Name C.C. High School and St. Bernard's C.C. High School. She began teaching in the Fitchburg State English Department in 1982, as a visiting lecturer and became an instructor in 1990. In 1992, she joined the English Department as a full time, tenure track assistant professor. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1997 and to Professor in 2005.

During her more than 30 years of service to the University, Nancy was well known for her dedication and commitment to her students, many of whom are now teachers in the central Massachusetts area. Her areas of interest were wide, and she taught courses in Children's and Young Adult Literature, Women's Literature, American Literature, and Speech communication. Most recently, she had been a mainstay of the English Studies Department's teacher education track, and in that capacity mentored virtually every English Secondary Education student at the University. She was the academic advisor for many of them, and also taught them in the Practicum Seminar, Special Methods, and Teaching Reading and Writing in the Secondary Schools. On the graduate level, she taught Women's Literature, but focused primarily on Research Methods and Curriculum and Design. In all of these courses, Nancy modeled the best kind of teacher: up to date, enthusiastic, concerned, and innovative. She impacted her students at Fitchburg State and through them, thousands more in classrooms around the area. Her students join her family and her colleagues in mourning her loss.

Nancy was also extremely active in the wider University Community. The faculty elected her to several university wide committees, including those concerned with promotion; she was also chairperson of the Graduate Council. She served as Director of the Writing Skills Center, Co-Coordinator of the Women's Studies Minor, Education Coordinator for the MAT Programs (Biology, English, and History), Graduate Program Chair for the Master of Education in Secondary Education, and Graduate Programs Chair for the MAT Programs for the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education. She authored several papers, edited several scholarly chapters, and was a member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), College English Association (CEA), Modern Language Association (MLA), and the New England Association of Teachers of English (NEATE).

In addition to her service to the University, Nancy remained closely connected to the Fitchburg area. She worked with the Literacy Corps, volunteering within the local Hmong and Hispanic communities, to help them strengthen their English Language skills. She helped judge the English Studies Department's annual writing competition for middle school and high school students, was a member of the North Quabbin Diversity Awareness Group and provided foster care to animals in the area.

Nancy leaves her beloved spouse Nancy O'Mealey of Westminster; brother, John Francis Kelly, Jr. and his wife Weltha of Port Charlotte, Fl; sisters, Dorothy H. Kelly, MD of South Hadley, Elizabeth Aho of Lenox, and Susan Weiner and husband Mark of Groveland; sister-in-law Eileen Petitto and her husband Wayne of Leominster, MA, sisters-in-law Patricia Bailey and Margaret O'Mealey both of Leominster. Her much loved nieces and nephews are Timothy Kelly and his wife Claris of Yankton, SD, Sarah Kramer and her husband Dan of Sioux Falls, SD, Nicole McCormick and her husband James of Palm Harbor, FL, Dr Zachary Weiner and his wife Dr. Elsa Schock of West Allenhurst, NJ, Jeremy Weiner of Fitchburg, MA, Julia Weiner of Groveland, MA, Jonathan Sarno of Austin, TX, and Andrew Aho of Lenox, MA, Patrick Petitto of Leominster, Michael Petitto of Brooklyn, NY and Larry Gianakis and his wife Amy, Leominster. She also leaves many beloved great nieces and nephews.

KELLY -- The funeral will be held in Brandon Funeral Home, 305 Wanoosnoc Rd., Fitchburg on Tuesday, July 15, at 10:00 AM. Burial will follow in Woodside Cemetery, Westminster. Calling hours will be held on Monday, July 14, from 4-7 PM in the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers it is the wish of the family that donations be made to the Dr. Nancy Kelly Fund at Fitchburg State University, 160 Pearl St, Fitchburg, MA 01420.
Funeral Home
Brandon Funeral Home
305 Wanoosnoc Road Fitchburg, MA 01420
(978) 343-4444
Funeral Home Details
Published in Sentinel & Enterprise on July 9, 2014