Helen Hockabout Kelley
Kelley, Helen Hockabout

July 23, 1938 - October 12, 2020

Born to Dale and Winifred Hockabout in Council Bluffs, IA.

Helen's commitment to excellence began at an early age. Taught to play the piano by ear, she became an accomplished pianist by age 14. She played beautifully throughout and until her end of life. From Christmas Carols to Concerto's, she could play them all - mostly from memory.

Graduating from Omaha Central High School in May of 1956, Helen's drive for leadership became an integral part of her life early and often. Her early achievements include: President of the Student Council Omaha Central High School 1956, Miss Central 1956, University of Nebraska at Lincoln Homecoming Queen 1958, Kappa Alpha Theta President Rho Chapter 1959-60, Phi Beta Kappa and recently inducted into the Central High School Hall of Fame.

After college she married her high school sweetheart Dick Kelley in June of 1960.

Helen took her talents to the classroom at Westside High School teaching English Literature for 4 years. She made an indelible impression on her students many of whom still note how much they loved her class nearly 60 years ago.

She left the classroom to raise the couple's family, but her leadership interests continued long into her adulthood. Helen was a passionate contributor to her community taking on many projects for organizations including Rockbrook Elementary School, Junior League of Omaha, Aksarben Coronation Ball Committee, Omaha Symphony, Omaha Public Library, Joslyn Art Museum and more.

In 1985 she ran for and won a seat on the Westside Community Schools Board of Education. She fulfilled 2 six year terms and one additional for an ailing board member. A child's education was of utmost importance to Helen. She served in leadership roles for Westside Schools, the Nebraska School Board Association and the National School Board Association. This time in her life included a testimony for a hearing at the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

More than anything, Helen loved her family and friends. A devoted wife to Dick of 61 years, together they raised Allyson, Beth and Rick and many dogs including their current Wheaton Terrier named Yogi. She enjoyed traveling with Dick, many dear friends and family. Paris and the Amalfi Coast were at the top of her list.

Later in life, Helen developed Alzheimer's Disease. However, she never lost her love for the piano and her family, especially her 7 grandchildren. She played the piano to end bringing herself comfort and joy to her family.

Helen was preceded in death by her parents, Winifred Steele Hockabout and Dale Hockabout. She is survived by her husband, Dick; daughters, Allyson (Gamble) Baffert, and Beth (Jerry) Smith; and son, Rick (Nicole) Kelley; grandchildren: Gamble Baffert II, Remy Baffert, Addison Baffert, Jack Smith, Paige Smith, Whitney Kelley and Carson Kelley; and beloved caretaker, Annie Smith.

Private Family Service. Memorials directed to: Westside Community Schools Foundation, Omaha Central High Foundation, Omaha Symphony or Alzheimer's Association of Nebraska.


West Center Chapel, 7805 W. Center Rd.

402-391-3900 | www.heafeyheafey.com
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Published by Omaha World-Herald from Oct. 14 to Oct. 18, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
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Funeral services provided by:
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26 Entries
Dear Dick and family, It was such a privilege to know and work with Helen on many projects involving the Westside Community Schools and Westside High School! Through her many years of volunteer service on the Westside Board of Education Helen produced immeasurable and amazing results. Her personable care and friendship are ever lasting now! I am so grateful for Helen's impact on my life! With many years of appreciation and care, Sharon
Sharon Krueger
October 19, 2020
Helen was my highly respected colleague in the Westside English Department. Her intelligent and warm mentoring was greatly appreciated. My deepest sympathy to her family.
Marilyn Woodbury
October 19, 2020
Helen was a grade school and high school classmate that always treated her classmates with dignity. She seemed to always have a smile and encouraging word. I was so happy to talk with her during our CHS 50th Reunion. Most sincere condolences to Dick and the family.
Len Wheeler
October 19, 2020
Kathy Farrell
October 19, 2020
So sorry to learn of Helen´s passing. She was a wonderful woman. When we worked on projects together in Omaha long ago I never knew her long list of accomplishments, just that she was a joy to know. I am sure she is greatly missed. Bill´s and my thoughts are with you all at this difficult time.
Sandi Bruns
October 18, 2020
Helen was an inspiration to me and so many other women. What a wonderful role model, educator, and human being. Omaha and Westside were better because of her!
Susan Evanich
October 17, 2020
To all the Kelley Family, we are so sorry to hear the news of Helen's passing. We were honored to get to know her over the last 26 years through our friendship with Rick and Nicole. The thing I loved about Helen was her presence during conversations. You could tell she cared by her focus and the questions she would ask. She will be missed. Take care and we love your family very much.
Trevor Strawhecker
October 15, 2020
My deepest sympathy for your loss.
Lorree Halmon
October 15, 2020
Megan McMurry
October 15, 2020
Fond memories.
Martin E Sophir
October 15, 2020
What an honor it was to know Helen. She was beautiful, kind, warm, and loving. She taught me so much in the conversations I had with her that will carry me through life. Her legacy will live on in so many. God Bless you all in the days, months and years ahead. All our love!
Jay & Margie Carstens
October 15, 2020
So sorry for your loss.
Murriel Harris
October 15, 2020
Helen was truly amazing and a gift to her family, friends and community. We loved her very much and will certainly miss her. Love to all of you. - Courtney & the girls
Courtney Sullivan (Aislinn & Gray)
October 15, 2020
My Prayers go out to You Dick and Rick and The rest of Your Family. Helen is at Piece. God Bless Her. I Pray also that You are at Piece as well knowing She has No More Pain and will spend her time watching over All of You. Best to You Dick, My Friend. LOU
October 15, 2020
Dear Dick and Family, Helen was an amazingly gifted woman! She gave so much of herself to her community. Her love of her family was paramount to her life. She will be missed.
Mary Ellen Wychulis
October 15, 2020
What an amazing woman Helen was! She will be missed and was such a blessing to so many people. Prayers for comfort and peace.
Buzz and Becky Garlock
October 15, 2020
Oh, Kelley family..My heart is so very heavy for you all..You cannot fill this void but all her wonderful memories will give you strength and some peace.. Sending love and hugs....
Janey Dann
October 14, 2020
Our sympathy and love to you and your family.
Joyce Tomich
October 14, 2020
Dear Dick and family, So sorry to read about Helen. Dick remembers her fondly from CHS and Suzie remembers as her English teacher. She had incredible gifts in so many ways. Thinking if you.
Dick and Suzie Ahlstrand
October 14, 2020
Rachel Campbell
October 14, 2020
Dick and family, My deepest sympathies on the loss of your wife and mother, Helen, a truly marvelous and great lady. I have the memories of a lot of good times together. May she now rest in peace.
John Grier
October 14, 2020
So many wonderful memories of Helen at the Theta House in Lincoln and our book club here in Omaha. She will be missed!
Ann Olmsted
October 14, 2020
Dick and family, I'm sending prayers for comfort at this sad time. Helen's obituary described an incredibly talented woman and 61 years of marriage is tremendous! I pray you find comfort in your memories.
Amy Volk
October 14, 2020
We have such fond memories of dear Helen. She gave so much to contribute to our community. Her legacy will always live on. We remain honored to call her our friend clear back from Central High School.
Steve & Judie Olson
October 14, 2020
Mark Bronder
October 14, 2020
I remember Helen from Central High as a sweet, pretty girl, always kind to everyone and am sad she is gone.
Marilyn(Cerra) Mittlestadt
October 14, 2020