Kelly Polan Union resident who 'thrived on supporting friends & family' Kelly Polan, of Union, NJ, died surrounded by loved ones on July 14, 2021, and the world has lost a very special person. Kelly leaves behind her husband, Jim Oakley; two children, Travis Volpe and Carson Polan Volpe; and five siblings, Amy Polan Clarke, Karen Rosica, Michael Miller, Carol Staton, and Elinor Greenberg. She was predeceased by her parents Marge and Stan Polan and two sisters, Susan Schneider and Diane "Cookie" Polan. She is also survived by her grandson Julian; her nieces and nephews, Matt, Brad, Jordan, Allie, Rosa, Maya, Denise, Mark, Bonnie; and her great-nephews, Cayden, Max, and Charley. Kelly was born in 1956 in Newark and grew up in Short Hills, NJ. She graduated from Millburn High, attended Bard College and graduated from University of Colorado. She subsequently attended The Restaurant School in Philadelphia, where she perfected her cooking skills, culminating in a lifetime of providing highly-anticipated holiday meals with her family. Two of her favorite things brought together - family and food. Kelly was the baby of the family, but became the glue that kept everyone in touch, no matter how far away anyone was. She was our safe space. She was always there to listen to our complaints, our worries, and our stories, be they happy or sad. She thrived on supporting her friends and family, and she was indubitably the first person anyone would call when talk was needed. She loved being with people and maintained many lifelong friendships. Kelly did not just nurture all those lucky enough to know her. She also loved animals, was a docent at the Turtle Back Zoo for a time, and always had a dog or two in the family. She used this same caring touch to grow a garden that became more magnificent by the year. A Memorial service will be held in the fall, at which time Kelly's ashes will be spread in some of the places she held most dear, including her summer camp, Camp Navarac, and beneath the magnolia tree where her sisters, Susie and Cookie, also rest. Please send donations in lieu of flowers to the MS Society, the American Brain Tumor Association, or Save the Chimps.
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Published by The Star-Ledger from Jul. 17 to Jul. 18, 2021.