Lidwina “Winnie” Rosa Grayson Kelly

Published 3:59 pm Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Lidwina “Winnie” Rosa Grayson Kelly passed away July 1 in Atlanta.

Born Sept. 1, 1924, in Augusta, Georgia, she moved to Athens in 1956 and loved both her hometown cities. She and her late husband, William “Bill” Lawrence Kelly, were married 57 years and the parents of eight Kelly children, Arthur, Colleen, Karyn, Lauren, Larry, Pat, Will and Mary.

Winnie was a member of St. Mary’s on the Hill Catholic Church in Augusta and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Athens. With her husband, she worked at Kelly Realty in Athens.

She enjoyed ballet and tennis and was active as a volunteer with her church, St. Mary’s Hospital and with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. She was a “Happy Hooker” in a local rug hooking club. One of her favorite spots was her garden and greenhouse crammed with pots of orchids, shamrocks and a vast assortment of plants accumulated over the years, including her latest creation, ginkgo bonsai trees. She befriended many people, young and old. She collected art from local painters and potters and was a member of the Georgia Museum of Art Collectors Group in Athens. She took trips with museum groups to Europe and around the U.S. and other trips to Europe and Ireland with her husband.

In her longtime Athens neighborhood of University Drive, she hosted a neighborhood St. Patrick’s Day party for many years and family gatherings for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Fourth of July.

She was a good cook, especially when it came to her biscuits and turkey dressing.

She later moved to The Villas of Five Points on South Lumpkin and enjoyed her new neighbors and attended the nearby Catholic center for Mass and other church activities. Most recently, she moved to The Piedmont at Buckhead retirement center in Atlanta, nearer many of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Still, she liked to visit Athens and Augusta whenever she could.

She was born into the Great Depression years and was a teenager at the start of World War II. In 1943, at age 19, she married her husband who was serving as a Merchant Marine during the war. They were married at Sacred Heart Church in Augusta. She was a graduate of Tubman High School.

She was a daughter of Robert Proctor Grayson and Adeline Schmidt Grayson. Her sister was Juanita Hillhouse of Alaska and brother was Robert Grayson of California, both deceased.

Her Texas grandparents, Dr. Robert Proctor Grayson and Marian Von Schmitz, were a footnote in American history when they were both murdered in 1878 by local men dressed in the white robes of the Ku Klux Klan. The Grayson Murder Trial made newspaper headlines identifying Dr. Grayson as a Union Army physician during The Civil War who after the war settled in Texas, a Confederacy stronghold even after the war. He was prosperous and known to provide medical services to his white neighbors as well as newly freed slaves, and he hired black and white workers in his fields and mills, all of which did not sit well with some in the community of Palestine, Texas.

They left five orphaned children aged two-months to nine years old, who were taken in by local families or left to make it on their own.

Winnie Kelly is survived by seven of her children, 20 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren, and their families, Dr. Arthur Kelly; Kevin and Michele Kelly, Davis, Sarah Taite and CeCe Kelly; and Beth Kelly Rowell and Chris Rowell, Jake and Sadie Rowell of Birmingham, Alabama, and Roswell, Georgia, Colleen Kelly of Tybee Island, Georgia; Kelly Teasley of Atlanta; and Stephanie and Troy Meek, Wesley, Jack and Ali Meek of Clermont, Georgia; Karyn and Terry McInerney; Sean and Steffany McInerney, Emily and Thomas McInerney of Atlanta; and Margaret and Josh Gibbs, Kathleen and Caroline Gibbs of Asheville, North Carolina; Lauren and Larry Davis of Calhoun, Georgia; Greer and Alex Taylor, Winston and Morgan Taylor of Atlanta; Will and Sarah Ostuw, Merrill and Edward Ostuw of Calhoun; and Emily and Alon Shaya of New Orleans; Larry and Laura Kelly; Frank Kelly and Emmy, Rowyn, Sam and Fisher Kelly; and Matt Kelly of Atlanta; Pat Kelly of LaGrange, Georgia; Michael and Jamie Kelly, Patrick, Emily, Charlie and Anna Kate Kelly of Atlanta; Kara Kelly Brownell and Nick Brownell, and Mylan Appleton, of Nashville, Tennessee; Joe and Hope Kelly and Lucy Kelly of Atlanta; Grayson and Amy Kelly and Jacob Kelly of Atlanta; and Kate and Patrick Franks and Arthur Franks of Atlanta; Will and Cyndi Kelly, Andy and Addie Kelly of Athens; granddaughter, Rosa Cox of Athens, and grandson, Lawrence Mercer and Chrissy Cox and Khristian Cox of Winder and Destiny and Mariah Cox.

Her daughter, Mary Kelly Cox Bradberry, and daughter-in-law, Kathy Weathers Kelly predeceased her.

A funeral mass will be held Friday, July 6 at 11 a.m. at The Catholic Center at The University of Georgia, 1344 S. Lumpkin St., Athens. Father Patrick Scully will officiate. Burial will be at Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens where she will be buried next to her husband and daughter.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Friends of Oconee Hill Cemetery, Inc., P. O. Box 49219, Athens, GA 30604.

Bernstein Funeral Home of Athens is in charge of arrangements.