Marilyn Ann Elizabeth Bernadette Thompson Kelley (1936 - 2018)

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Marilyn Ann Elizabeth Bernadette Thompson Kelley, passed peacefully from her daughters' arms into the waiting arms of Our Lord on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018.

She was welcomed into heaven by her beloved parents, Anna Elizabeth (Lavery) and George Thomas Kelley; cherished brothers Michael and baby George; mother-by-heart Mary Thompson; father of their four daughters Orrin "Tommy" Thompson; and so many dear family members and friends. We can only imagine their joy to see her come!

"Mai,' as she was lovingly called by her nine younger siblings, was born March 28, 1936, in Springfield. Though the firstborn, she was soon surrounded by an abundance of Irish family love, mischief, music and diapers. Her winters were spent ice skating and her summers spent with her family at the Connecticut shore where her love for the ocean grew to a devotion she would go on to share with her daughters and grandchildren. Mai looked after her siblings and was a great help to her mother, always watching and learning to lovingly care for others. Marilyn was a born caretaker and nurturing those around her came as naturally as breathing. Her faith in Jesus Christ and His earthly life of compassion and mercy filled her with purpose.

Following graduation from Commerce High School in Springfield, Marilyn began her work career as a dental hygienist before staying home to raise her daughters. In later years, as her daughters grew, she worked as an administrative assistant in Hartford and East Windsor public school districts before moving to University of Hartford's Alumni Relations departments and then the math, physics, and computer science departments. She achieved her associates degree in sociology, and completed almost all credits toward her bachelor's degree from the University of Hartford, while working full time and raising her family.

Marilyn worked tirelessly to ensure their family week at the beach each summer. There they walked at low tide collecting shells, imperfectly heart-shaped rocks, sea-smoothed stones, and beach glass to be brought home to set in sunbeams on windowsills and enjoyed through winter's chill. She taught her girls to meditate with dripcastles, float so calmly on tide and waves, and later, as the sun lowered to rest, she pulled frozen peppermint patties from the cooler. Connecticut winters found Marilyn skiing with her daughters and tying kitchen aprons to snowfolk adorned with apple eyes and floppy, woven sun hats.

Marilyn was a wonderful writer and found peace in journals. Her frequent love letters to her family and friends were always precious and sincere, even the curve of her handwriting was deliberate and thoughtful. She loved to paint and draw and found crafting with her daughters a contented way to pass hours. Creative and visionary, Marilyn's art of arranging flowers made a jelly jar of cut garden blossoms the most lovely and romantic bouquet ever to grace a supper table. She made a home for her family that was a safe place for anyone, so kind and just, she mothered all. Through the years, many friends, family, and animals found themselves beneath Marilyn's roof, sheltered by her heart, fed by her hand, and in time, made stronger with her care.

A founding parishioner of Holy Family Church of Enfield, member of the folk group, Women's Guild and CCD teacher, she coached the CYO cheerleaders to a New England Championship. Marilyn was most recently a communicant of St. Mary's Church in Windsor Locks and the chapel at St. Joseph's, Little Sisters of the Poor of Enfield, where she resided at the time of her passing. An associate of the Sisters of the Cross and Passion, Marilyn was a Eucharistic minister and a devoted servant at Our Lady of Calvary Retreat House, Farmington, and Marie Joseph Spiritual Life Center, Biddeford Pool, Maine. Through her volunteer work at The House of Bread and numerous Connecticut food kitchens, shelters, and community outreach programs, Marilyn modeled a life of love, compassion, empathy, and service to others.

Marilyn will one day be reunited with her daughter, Elizabeth Ann of Owens Cross Roads, Alabama, son-in-law-James Strouth, grandsons, Christopher and Nathan; daughter Melissa Mary of Enfield, son-in-law Tom Levasseur, grandchildren Ben, Nick (Hillary), and Katie, great-grandchildren, Liam and Amelia; daughter Caroline Kelley of Woodstock, son-in-law Lee Chouinard, grandchildren Joshua (Melanie) and Grace, great-granddaughter Ella; daughter Emily Sarah of Winsted, son-in-law Chris King, grandchildren, Anna, Sam, Naomi, and Toby; siblings, Virginia Kelley, Robert Emmett Kelley, Lawrence Kelley (Tracy), Patricia Conz, all of Springfield; Christine Kelley of South Windsor; Gary Kelley (Katie), Terry Kelley-Coffey (Rosemary) of Vero Beach Florida; and many beloved siblings-by-heart, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

We are so grateful for the gentle care, love, and friendship our mother found in the community of St. Joe's and the Felician Sisters. Thank you for loving us.

Memorial donations may be made to Little Sisters of the Poor, 1365 Enfield St., Enfield CT.

Marilyn's family will receive relatives and friends on Monday, Sept. 17, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Browne Memorial Funeral Chapels, Enfield.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 10:30 a.m. in St. Mary Church, 412 Spring St. Windsor Locks (Please go directly to the church). Interment will at the convenience of the family in St. Michael's Cemetery, Springfield.

To leave an online condolence message, for directions or more information, visit

Funeral Home
Browne Funeral Chapels
43 Shaker Road
Enfield, CT 06082
(860) 745-3115
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Published in Journal Inquirer from Sept. 15 to Sept. 19, 2018