Jeanine Carol Elle Kelly was born on October 16, 1940, in Pocatello, Idaho. She was the oldest of five siblings born to Clarence and Jean Elle. Semi-rural Pocatello was a fantastic place to grow up. Carol’s childhood was full of all sorts of adventures with her younger sister Marolyn and brothers Eric, Steve, and John. She spent time at her grandparents’ homestead in central Oregon, playing the part of a true pioneer—hauling water from the spring and tending to cattle — marveling at how tough her mother was to have grown up in that isolated setting.
After graduating from Pocatello High, she went to Colorado Women’s College for a year before transferring to the University of Oregon, where she graduated in 1963. It was at the U. of O. where she met her husband of fifty-five years, Pete Kelly. They married in August 1963, and moved out to the ranch shortly after. She taught high school in Dufur until they started a family five years later and were blessed with two children, Mike and Sarah.
Carol came from a long line of strong matriarchs and was a wise and caring mother, nurturing her children with a loving and inspirational flare. When the kids started high school, Carol started her second career. As an avid reader it seemed a natural fit to sell books to others, so she went to work for her dear friends, Philip and Linda Klindt, in the mid 1980’s. Anyone who visited the bookstore during her over twenty-five year tenure knew her to be synonymous with good books and good company. She seemed to know everyone who came in, and had a real passion for downtown The Dalles.
Carol was preceded in death by her parents, Jean and Clarence; her brother Eric; and her sister Marolyn. She is survived by her husband Pete; her brothers, Steve and John; her children, Sarah Kelly and Mike Kelly; daughter-in-law Anne; and grandchildren, Mikayla and Paul.
Carol loved to tell the story of one of the ironies of her life. When she went away to college, she was not certain what she wanted to do with her life, but there were three things she swore she would never do. One, she would never marry a farmer. Two, she was not going to teach school. And three, she would never drive a Nash. She recalled that as she was driving to Dufur, to teach school for the first time, in the hand-me-down Nash Rambler Pete had inherited, that she had done all three things inside the month of August 1963.
In lieu of flowers, feel free to send any donations, in her honor, to Habitat for Humanity, OPB, The Dalles Art Center, or The Dalles—Wasco County Library.
A celebration of life will be held at The Dalles Civic Auditorium Sunday January 13, 2018, at 11:30 a.m.
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