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Ledora "Lee" Kelly


Ledora Kelly, 91, passed away at her home in Grand Coulee, Washington, on Saturday, January 13, 2018, with loved ones at her side. She was born on September 17, 1926, in Lewiston, Idaho, to Lee and Tyler Pinkston. An only child until the birth of her sister 18 years later, "Lee," as she was known, lived in many places around the U.S. due to her father's work in the construction industry. She attended schools in many different places, making lifelong friends along the way. She graduated from Jefferson High School in Portland, Oregon, in 1944.

Ledora attended Chaffey Business College in California and worked in the business offices of several construction companies. She met her husband, Dave, on the Detroit Dam construction project and they married in Mill City, Oregon, in 1950. They were happily married just a few days short of 65 years. Lee and Dave spent their entire life following the construction trade, specifically construction of dams, locks, and hydroelectric powerplants on the Columbia, Colorado, Mississippi, and Ohio Rivers. Lee became a homemaker during those years and, wherever was home, became active in her community and the lives of her children. She founded the library in Page, Arizona, and became the town's first librarian. Lee served as a Cub Scouts leader, a room mother, Girl scouts and Head Start volunteer, taxi driver for sports and music lessons, and so much more. As her children became older, she worked as a school librarian, a Tupperware dealer/manager, and later opened her own business in two locations: Stevenson, Washington, and Mehama, Oregon. The business, Lee's Etc., was a crafting and gift shop, and Lee's many artistic talents suited the business well. She especially enjoyed teaching craft classes at her shop. Lee was an avid doll collector and a voracious reader. She also enjoyed knitting, doing complex counted cross stitch needlework, and traveling.

Lee and Dave retired to Mehama, where they built their dream home, operated a small cattle ranch, and enjoyed the beauty of the Santiam River Valley. In 1999, a move was made back to Grand Coulee, to be closer to family. They knew the community well after spending five years in Coulee Dam during the 1970s in the Third Powerplant construction years.

Despite frequent moves throughout her life, Lee was the person who frequently served as the unofficial welcome wagon to newcomers in her community. She always welcomed the opportunity to make new friends and was known to be quite the entertainer. New Year's Eve parties, holiday celebrations, and Fourth of July bashes at the Kelly home were always a success and eagerly anticipated by friends and family. She looked for opportunities to befriend others, whether it was through church, golf and country clubs, children's activities, neighborhood gatherings, construction folks, or organizations like the Elks, American Legion, and Grange. Most of all, though, Lee enjoyed being an active part in the lives of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Family was everything to her, and she was greatly loved by all members of her family.

Lee is survived by her three children: Darrell Kelly, Austin, Texas; Diane Babler (Bob), Grand Coulee; and Boyd Kelly (Cathy), Stockton, California; six grandchildren: Peter George (Amy), Sanford, North Carolina; Aaron Kelly (Melissa), Hampshire, Illinois; Paul Kelly (Amber), Oregon City, Oregon; David Kelly, Salem, Oregon; Justin Babler (Heather), Eltopia, Washington; and Sarah Alling (Wade), Grand Coulee. She is also survived by numerous great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and her sister, Jo Ward (Al) of Eustis, Florida. Arrangements by Neptune Society. At her request, no local services will be held. A family memorial and interment will take place at a later date, with both Dave and Lee's ashes being interred together at the Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.


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