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After 65 years of a fun-filled, adventurous marriage to her soul mate, Jerry, and four years of longing to be with him again, our beautiful and adored Mom/Nana/Great Nana, Rita Carolina Kelly, gracefully went home to our Lord on Saturday, November 6, 2021. She treasured her family leaving behind her daughters Diane A Kelly and Donna Kay Kelly Ramacciotti, her only “golden” grandchild Amanda Kay Kelly Martinez (Sebastian), three beautiful great-grandchildren Fatima, Charles, and Theodore, her sister Patsy Chavez, and many relatives and friends.
Rita was the youngest of four children and right out of high school began working at Sandia Base. It was by destiny that she would meet and marry the love of her life, Jerry Leland Kelly from Lawrenceville, Illinois, while he was stationed here in Albuquerque. They were married on June 1, 1953, after only a short time of dating, and they complemented each other perfectly. A few years later, they started their own business together, a furniture refinishing company, Kelly’s Refinishing Shop Inc., originally located across from Albuquerque High School on Tijeras Street and then relocating to a permanent facility they owned on Vassar/Candelaria. They owned and operated their business together for over 40 years. Both of their daughters grew up with the knowledge of running a family-owned business and the demanding struggles it took to be successful in business while maintaining a loving and supportive close-knit family life.
They both loved to travel especially in their RV, visiting the US from coast to coast and into Canada with a trip to Hawaii. Regardless of how busy the company was in running, they both made time for family road trips even if it was going up to the mountains for a picnic, visiting a national park, driving to Bosque del Apache or anywhere that brought them to nature. Rita loved to read, they both were avid golfers, and most of all she was a fantastic cook. Playing family games was the norm around the Kelly household or even making up games to play while traveling in the car/RV made for healthy competition.
Rita was the “best Mom/Nana” ever, encouraging, loving, empathetic, and supportive, raising her girls and granddaughter to be strong and independent women but knowing and accepting that we all had faults. Her love was unconditional. Of course, every Saturday morning was housecleaning time, strictly enforced, but music and dancing around was always part of those chores. She loved family and if anyone needed a place to stay, they would always head to her house knowing loving arms would be wrapped around them and an understanding heart listening to them. She was an active member of the Catholic community teaching marriage enrichment, catechism to grade school children, and being a Eucharistic Minister.
She lived life to the fullest and would say “no crying – just celebrate”. We will deeply miss her warm hugs, knowing and laughing eyes, “quiet” sense of humor, and gentle nature.
How do you write about a Mom who was so amazing? You can’t. There are so many wonderful aspects that made her up. She taught us how to live, traditions (knitting, cooking, etc.), pride in self and internal worth, how to face adversity, how to love, laugh, have strength, everything - basically being the best person you can be. She promoted good. She cried with us, laughed, and every other emotion in between. How do you describe an amazing woman with character, love, fortitude, piety, grace? You can’t. It was an experience to live with her. She brought joy, hope, and faith to us all. Rest peacefully Mama Mia. You are finally home.
Pall bearers for Rita’s church service and Santa Fe interment will be her beloved nephews/great nephews Steve Mora, Brian Mora, Rick Sedillo, Art Sedillo, Frank Creamer, and Christopher Martinez.
Friday, November 19, 2021
Starts at 10:00am (Mountain time)
Friday, November 19, 2021
Starts at 10:30am (Mountain time)
Thursday, December 9, 2021
Starts at 9:00am (Mountain time)
Santa Fe National Cemetery
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