Bessie Mae Kelly

March 3, 1912 - Oct. 22, 2008

Bessie Mae Kelly of Waukesha died Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008, at LindenGrove Health Care Center at age 96. Bessie Mae Roycroft Kelly was born in Spokane, Wash., on March 3, 1912, to William Roycroft and Bertha Heath.

At the age of 9, her parents sold their home and went to England for a year to visit their family. Bessie went to school in England during that year. Bessie graduated from North Central High School in Spokane. She wanted to go college to study library science; unfortunately in the Great Depression, the money was not there. She worked instead at J.C. Penney Co.

Bessie married Wilfred Kelly on June 30, 1943, in Spokane. Bessie and Wilfred had two children, Patricia, and William. After her children went to school, Bessie returned to work at Penneys. Among her many tasks, she managed the gift wrap department. Bessie always maintained she could wrap anything and cited an ironing board as an example of her wrapping talents. In her spare time, Bessie baked, made yarn dolls for the church bazaar, gardened, tended her rose bushes, read (especially romance novels) and played the occasional slot machine! She was an avid crossword puzzle solver as well. Bessie was one of the sweetest ladies to ever live and never wanted to be "a bother" to anyone!

Throughout their years together, Bessie and Wilfred did some traveling to Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Washington, D.C., to visit their children, to the Western states, to Hawaii and to New York City-New England on a leaf peeper trip. To celebrate her 80th birthday, her daughter, Patricia, and son-in-law, Frank, took Bessie on a trip to England.

Wilfred died in 1988 after a long illness. Bessie moved to Waukesha in March 1996 residing at Oak Hill Terrace and eventually LindenGrove Nursing Home. She was a member of St. William Catholic Church.

Bessie will be dearly missed by daughter, Patricia Crowe (Francis) Crowe of Williamsburg, Va.; daughter-in-law, Kathleen Kelly of Waukesha; granddaughter, Mary Hetland (Paul) Hetland of Freeport, Minn.; granddaughter, Colleen Kelly of Pewaukee; and great-granddaughters, Kathleen and Claire Hetland.

She was welcomed into heaven by her husband, Wilfred Kelly; parents, William and Bertha Roycroft; brother, William Roycroft; son, Dr. William Kelly; infant granddaughter, Bridget Kelly; and an infant great-grandchild, Riley Hetland.

Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. until the 10 a.m. memorial service Monday, Oct. 27, at St. William Catholic Church, 440 N. Moreland Blvd., Waukesha, WI 53188. The Rev. Jason Lavann will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are appreciated to St. William Catholic Church (address above) or Seasonís Hospice, 4650 N. Port Washington Road, Milwaukee, WI 53212.

The family of Bessie would like to extend their appreciation to the staff of Oak Hill Terrace and LindenGrove Health Care Center for the care and love given to Bessie.

Cesarz, Charapata & Zinnecker Funeral Home, Cremation & Preplanning Services is serving the family. For the online obituary, directions or cards of condolence, please visit www.waukeshasfuneralhome.com, or call the funeral home at 542-6609.