Edith Marie (Hove) Kelly was born in Alexandria on February 4, 1929, the youngest daughter of Clifford and Lillian (Solem) Hove. She passed away on July 21, 2021.
Edith graduated from high school in 1945 and attended the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota School of Business in Minneapolis. In 1949, she married Donald Kelly.
Edith and Don were co-owners of Rural Publishing Company, a monthly newspaper with 160,000 subscribers. She was also Douglas County deputy registrar of motor vehicles from 1963-1975.
Edith served as a member of the Douglas County Welfare Board, and in 1974 she was elected the first woman Douglas County commissioner. She served two full terms before moving out of the district. Her father was involved in local and state politics, and at an early age, she realized the importance of community service. “You learn that you must work with people – all kinds of people. Listen to them. You might not always agree, but be sensitive to what they are saying,” she said in an interview with Senior Perspective in 2019.
Edith was a longtime member of the Women’s Club of Alexandria, and in 1982 she was selected as Alexandria’s Business and Professional Woman of the Year. She was a lifelong Democrat who taught her children to always vote.
Her children saw her as their mentor, who, by example, showed them they could accomplish anything they set their sights on. She also taught them the importance of being a kind and loving person. She was a devoted member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church. She volunteered for many causes over the years and made numerous friends in the process, but she never hesitated to speak her mind. She had a great appreciation for nature and felt strongly about protecting the environment. For the last ten years of her life, Edith found great contentment living at Grand Arbor, where she made even more friends.
Edith was preceded in death by her husband, Don, and her youngest child, Dana, as well as her three sisters: Margaret, Gertrude, and Dorothy. She is survived by her daughter Denise Kelly (Michael Suglia); her son Timothy Kelly (Ayako); her grandson Joe Kelly; her son-in-law David Christenson; her sister-in-law Denise Kelly; and numerous nieces and nephews. Edith was greatly loved and respected by her family, friends, and community. She will be missed by all who knew her.
Memorials can be sent to Douglas County Hospice, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, or the charity of your choice.
Friends and family are invited to a memorial service at Grand Arbor in Alexandria on September 18 at 1:00 pm followed by a reception.