Cover photo for Mary Kelly's Obituary
Mary Kelly Profile Photo
1925 Mary 2018

Mary Kelly

August 3, 1925 — March 9, 2018

Mary K. Kelly, PhD

August 3, 1925 – March 9, 2018

Niles - Mary K. Kelly died peacefully on March 9, 2018 following a brief illness. Although she was 92, she remained young at heart, engaged and interested in everyone. She could and did reach out to every person she met.

Mary was born in 1925 the daughter of John Ketcham, a United States Congressman and Belle Shelton, the daughter of a United States Congressman. Mary spent her early years in Washington D.C. and Hastings, Michigan where she met Bill Kelly. Mary, the class valedictorian and Bill, the Captain of the football team, were married on July 1, 1945. They celebrated their 70th anniversary in 2015.

Mary attended the University of Michigan from 1943 through 1945. After Bill completed his service in the Navy, the young couple attended and graduated from Michigan State University and remained ardent supporters of the Spartans throughout their lifetimes.

Mary taught elementary school in Lansing, Michigan. She and Bill moved to Niles in 1950. Mary returned to teaching in 1960. She taught at both Eastside and Howard Schools. Subsequently, she applied her skills and experience as an educator to teach teachers. She served as a Student Teacher Coordinator and Supervisor for Michigan State. In 1979 she earned her PhD and became a professor for Michigan State.

Mary was an enthusiastic and vocal fan of all sports, but she particularly relished watching her children and grandchildren compete in swimming, football, basketball and volleyball.

Mary enjoyed golf and won several golf championships at Orchard Hills Country Club. She was also an astute bridge player who greatly appreciated the company of her longtime friends at the table.

Mary and Bill loved to travel. During their 71 years together, they visited all 50 states and countries in Europe and Africa. She made friends everywhere she went. No one was ever a stranger to Mary.

Mary will be remembered and greatly missed by three generations of her family: Amy and Dick DeVos, Beth and John Culp, Patrick and Debbie Kelly; Mike and Michelle Culp, Molly and Shawn Dunigan, Jessica Devos and Sam Post; Nick Culp and Kellie Sizemore; and Riley Culp, Jordan Dunigan, Ananda Dunigan and Abby James Post.

An imaginative and conscientious gardener, Mary’s efforts were appreciated by all who crossed the Broadway bridge on a summer day. In honor of her commitment to the community the family respectfully requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to Niles Main Street Flower Fund in care of Lisa Croteau at 333 N. 2nd Street, Niles, Michigan.

Visitation with the family will be from 4:00pm to 6:00pm on Tuesday, March 13, 2016 in HALBRITTER WICKENS FUNERAL HOME, 615 E. Main Street, Niles, Michigan. A Celebration of Mary’s life will begin at 4:00pm on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in the “The Grand LV,” 104 N. 3rd Street, Niles Michigan.

Condolences for the family may be made at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Kelly, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

4:00 - 6:00pm (Eastern time)

Halbritter Wickens Funeral Home

615 E Main St, Niles, MI 49120

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Starts at 4:00pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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