Born in 1924 to Pat and Mercedes Foley, Mercedes Kelly and her four siblings were raised in The Dalles, and worked at the family-owned The Dalles Hotel. Mercedes attended St. Mary’s Academy and spent much of her childhood riding horses at Foley Lakes Ranch. Another favorite childhood memory was delivering milk throughout town from the Foley Dairy. During high school she won first prize in the Junior Cherry Float Festival, rode in the Portland Rose Festival, and was crowned Queen of the Tygh Valley Rodeo. She left The Dalles to attend Dominican College in California and the University of Oregon, joining the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
Mercedes married James Kelly in 1946 in The Dalles. They were ranchers and soon started their family of six children. In 1956 husband Jim became CEO of Sawyers (View Master) and the family moved to Southwest Portland. She dedicated her next twenty years to raising their six children, volunteering, and became the ultimate hostess. Mercedes loved tennis, golf, skiing, and spending time in Sun Valley. For sixty years she was a faithful member of St. Thomas More Parish. Mercedes will be remembered for her love of family, deep faith and elegant style.
Mercedes is survived by her children James E., Jr. (Rose), Diane Hamm (Fred), Kevin (Karen), Mark (Inge), Stephen (Kathy), and Shannon DiLorenzo (David), her brother Tom Foley (Marjorie), 17 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Her husband, James Kelly, Sr., siblings Pat Foley, Jerome Foley, and Marie Litfin, and daughter-in-law Lynnette Kelly predeceased her.
The family would especially like to thank Lucian and Michelle Roman for their love and compassionate care these last few years.
A funeral mass will be held March 14, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral Catholic Church. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Rose Haven or St. Mary’s Home for the Boys.
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