Obituary: Ruth Kelley / Devoted volunteer at churches in Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair

Dec. 22, 1928 - June 28, 2013

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Ruth Kelley's dual interest in service and faith paved the way for a long career of helping others through her church.

The longtime Mt. Lebanon resident spent decades teaching Sunday school and working with high school students at the Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church. She also volunteered through Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Wilson College Club of Pittsburgh.

She even went as far as inviting students from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary to her home.

"The church was so important to her," said her daughter, Kathryn Karns of Mt. Lebanon. "She had an incredibly strong faith in God, and volunteering was a way for her to demonstrate this."

Ms. Kelley died after a long fight with leukemia on June 28 at the health care center at Providence Point. She was 84.

Born in Wheeling, W.Va., Ms. Kelley moved with her family to the Pittsburgh area while she was growing up and loved the area so much that she stayed for her entire life.

She graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School in 1946 before earning a bachelor's degree from Wilson College and a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh. At that point, she was forced to make a decision: take a job in Cleveland or marry her boyfriend and start a family.

Her daughter said she chose the latter and never looked back. Ms. Kelley and Robert Kelley were married for 61 years.

"They loved each other," former neighbor Sally Johnson of South Hills said. "He is a wonderful person and so was she. They were just so devoted to each other."

Ms. Johnson, 86, and Ms. Kelley remained friends for more than 50 years after their children became friends through school.

It is very noble, Ms. Johnson said, how Ms. Kelley spent so much of her time volunteering throughout her life.

"It absolutely made her feel good helping other people," Ms. Johnson said. "She didn't do it for show or anything like that. She did it out of necessity of love."

In addition to her husband and daughter, Ms. Kelley is survived by a son, Robert Kelley of Bloomington, Ind.; and one grandson.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a memorial service Friday at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair. Interment in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery will be private.


Jessica Tully:, 412-263-1159 and on Twitter: @jessalynn4.


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