Sister Marian Joseph Kelly, RSM
Sister Marian Joseph Kelly died at the age of 89 on December 8, 2020 at Marian Oaks Life Center in Burlingame. Born Joan Mae in Gilbert, Arizona in 1931 to Gladys (Barnes) and Everett Kelly, she grew up in Gilbert with her sister Dora Lee and brother Everett, raised on a farm by her widowed mother. Following her graduation from Chandler High School, she studied nursing at St. Joseph's Hospital School of Nursing in Phoenix, where she converted to Catholicism, and became an RN in 1952. Following a year working as a staff nurse in pediatrics, she entered the Sisters of Mercy in Burlingame CA, professed her vows in 1956 and was given the religious name Sister Marian Joseph.
After earning a BSN at the University of San Francisco in 1958, she ministered at Mercy Hospital in San Diego as a nursing administrator and clinical instructor, before returning to USF as a member of the faculty. In 1966 she completed studies for a Masters in Nursing at UCSF.
Sister then served in various capacities in nursing in San Diego and at Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield, where she became part of the administrative team with responsibilities for planning. She managed the construction of a new patient tower and left no detail to chance. She a had a gift for envisioning upcoming changes in healthcare as well as the future needs of the community, and attempted to incorporate these ideas in order to provide a structure that would last well into the future. She also served on hospital boards and played a significant role in developing a strong donor base to continue the ministry.
She returned to San Francisco in 1982 where she became part of the planning department for St. Mary's Hospital as well as for the Bay region of Catholic Healthcare West. Her analytical skills and commitment to Catholic healthcare continued to serve her ministry well. She retired from the hospital in 2001 and continued to be of assistance to others; she was known especially for her sewing and culinary skills. She moved to Marian Oaks in 2019.
She is survived by her nephew Eugene Kelly, cousin Charlene Thompson, and her loving community of the Sisters of Mercy. Services will be private. Memorial gifts may be made to the Sisters of Mercy, 2300 Adeline Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Dec. 12 to Dec. 13, 2020.