Mary Teresa Kelly, beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother and aunt, passed away Monday, April 27, 2020, at home in West Milford, N.J. She was 90 years old.
Because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, the family was unable to hold a funeral. She will be laid to rest with her late husband Frank Kelly at a private burial ceremony.
Her children hope to honor Mary’s life at a memorial celebratory gathering in the future at a time to be announced.
Mary Theresa (Eagan) Kelly was born Oct. 1, 1929, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to David and Helen Egan. Her siblings Eileen, Mona and Richard were born to the couple in years that followed.
The family moved to Jackson Heights, Queens, N.Y., while Mary was still very young. She attended Joan of Arc Elementary School in Jackson Heights and St. Agnes High School in College Point.
Mary worked in an office in Manhattan after high school and studied voice and music after work. While attending a friend’s wedding Mary and another guest named Frank Kelly were asked to sing. They met that day, fell in love and were married on Sept. 15, 1951.
Their home was at Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where they sang with the choir at St. Anthony of Padua Church. Five children – John, Daniel, Owen, Mary Ann and Jean - were born to the couple.
In 1958 Mary and Frank bought a summer bungalow at West Milford Lakes, N.J. Over the next few years while Mary raised the children Frank worked one full time job and part time jobs so they could save enough money to convert the bungalow into a year-round home. Finally on July 1, 1964, the house was ready and the Kelly family became fulltime residents in West Milford.
With the children enrolled in Our Lady Queen of Peace School Mary returned to work. She was a waitress in the T-Bowl in Wayne, Art’s Greentop in West Milford and Tell’s Coffee Shop.
During this time Mary also sang at hundreds of weddings and funerals. Mary and Frank sang in the choir at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Hewitt, N.J., where she was soloist.
Frank began having health problems in the early 1970s. He died in February 1976. With two children still in school Mary carried on; she worked for Cardinale Real Estate for seven years; then for Inserra Supermarkets Inc. in Mahwah until her 1997 retirement.
During her final years Mary enjoyed bird watching, shopping, taking long drives with her dogs and watching animal shows on television.
Her youngest daughter Jean became Mary’s best friend, constant companion and finally her primary caregiver.
“An illuminated cross that has been hanging on the Kelly home every Christmas, Holy Week and Easter seasons for almost 50 years is presently lit again in honor of our Precious Savior and our Mom’s beautiful life”, her family’s statement said. “Her last words on Earth ten minutes before she died were ‘Sweet Lord, Sweet Lord, Sweet Lord.’”
For about 30 years Mary was the treasurer of Cry Ministry Inc. (a Christian Ministry).
She was predeceased by her parents David and Helen Egan, husband Frank Kelly and sisters Eileen Timony and Mona Campbell, both of Long Island N.Y. Surviving are her brother Richard Egan of Shelton, Conn.; her five children: John Kelly, Middletown N.Y., Daniel Kelly, Goshen N.Y.; Owen Kelly and wife Carolyn, Haledon N.J; Mary Ann Kelly Skubus and husband Jim of West Milford N.J. and Jean Kelly of West Milford N.J.; 10 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, 20 nieces and nephews.