Mona Lee Kelley

Mona Lee Kelley passed on to be with our Lord on Oct. 8, 2021.

Born Jan. 15, 1935, in San Diego, Mona was raised and attended schools in Chula Vista and graduated from San Diego State University. Upon graduation, Mona moved to the Imperial Valley where she began her first teaching position at Oakley Elementary School in Brawley. Being among children was a joy, playing the piano was a passion.

It was in Brawley that Mona met Howard Kelley Jr., a young farmer who grew up there. Following a brief courtship, Howard proposed and she accepted. Mona continued teaching, but soon became very busy in her own home with her six children, all born within five years of each other. Her children all attended Mulberry School, a small country school outside of Brawley where Mona taught kindergarten, first and second grades, and was teacher to three of her youngest children. She happily played the piano for all her students and watched her own children develop and grow.

She was a devoted, exceptional and loving mother who provided every opportunity for her children to enjoy a well-rounded childhood. She made sure they were involved in a myriad of activities including the Girl and Boy Scouts of America programs (from Brownies and Cub Scouts to Cadet and Eagle Scouts), horseback riding, swim team, camping, hiking, tennis, golf and sailing lessons. If any other child in the community, wanted to be a part of these activities they were included. If a leader or parental support was needed, Mona would serve. She was also involved in 4-H, Job’s Daughters and DeMolay.

Of vital importance to her was the spiritual development of her family. To this end she taught Sunday school for many years. Flourishing under their mother’s guidance, all of Mona’s children graduated from colleges of higher education in and outside of California.

Mona was a consummate entertainer. An annual favorite event was the Fourth of July celebration at the Kelley home in Calipatria, and later years Coronado. Mona and Howard enjoyed riding the rapids on the Colorado River and an excursion to Catalina Island provided cherished memories. Many days were well spent in Julian at the family cabin. Another wonderful trip was backpacking to the depths of the Havasupai Reservation in the Grand Canyon. Mona was torn between her two geographical loves: San Diego and Coronado, and the Imperial Valley. She was keen to live life to its fullest in each of these beautiful settings- constantly traveling from the Colorado desert of California to the coastal regions of San Diego County with her children and husband.

Mona was a founding member of Children’s Home Society in the Imperial Valley, now DOVES (Donors of Valley Endeavors). She was a proud member of P.E.O International in both Brawley and Coronado. This philanthropic work and sisterhood provided deep meaning for her. In 2001 she became a trained docent for Advocates for Classical Music. She traveled to elementary schools in the South Bay to introduce music programs to students, including having them attend and experience music of the San Diego Symphony. This exposure was important to her. Mona was deeply passionate about gardening and was an active member of the Crown Garden Club of Coronado. Mona was devout in her faith and lived life as if God was at her side each and every day.

Mona is preceded in death by her husband Howard Kelley Jr.; her brother Charlie Renick; and her parents Ned Rutter Renick and Nellie Salmon Renick, to whom she was a faithful daughter. Mona is survived by her six children, Mary Ellen Kelley of Healdsburg, Michael Erin (Jessica) Kelley of Fresno, Catherine Kelley (Mike) Bouvier of San Diego, Alison Kelley (Craig) Moiola of Brawley, Leslie Byrnes (Geoffrey) Jiranek of Seattle, and Timothy Edward (Marisa) Kelley of Brawley; her grandchildren, Liam and Fiona Kelley, Madeline and Megan Bouvier, Juliana and Steven Moiola; great-grandchild, Ashton Dial; her brother Ned Renick of San Diego; and dear family friend Susan Rose.

A rosary and funeral mass will be held on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021 at 10:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. respectively, Sacred Heart Church, 655 C Avenue, Coronado.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to: Advocates for Classical Music, www.advocatesforclassicalmusic.org. Alternatively, donations may be sent to P.E.O. International, www.peointernational.org.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.