Celebrating 100 Years of a Life Well Lived!

Granddaughter Nicole Garner (Bradenton, Florida), son Gene Kelley (Toledo, Ohio) and grandson Christopher Garner (Nashville, Tennessee) pose with Mrs. Kelley

By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter

It was a pink and white affair for Ovella Kelley’s 100th birthday celebration at Heather Downs Country Club Saturday September 30. The centenarian celebrated the milestone in style with family and friends from Toledo, Tennessee, Chicago and Florida.

Ovella Kelley was born October 2, 1923 in Somerville, Tennessee to Prince Albert Williams and Laura Williams. She had three sisters and two brothers, now deceased. Ovella moved to Toledo in the late 1940s where she met her husband Tom Kelley and they wed in 1949. The pair had two children, Gene Kelley and the late Kathryn L. Kelley. She worked at the Toledo State Hospital until she retired in 1977 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At 100, she has now been a breast cancer survivor of more than 45 years.

“She is a great example to all of us”, commented granddaughter Tami Harris (Sylvania Township) in the welcome, “I believe she lived this long [because of her faith in Christ], she lived in contentment, whether she was sick with breast cancer, her husband being ill, getting older and going through the trials and tribulations of life. She was able to live her life with contentment and without complaining. She is a great example to all of us.”

Mrs. Kelley was an avid traveler, traveling to many places in the United States including Alaska and Hawaii. She also traveled the Caribbean and voyaged on many cruises in her lifetime with friends, family, and church groups. The centenarian also took great pride in her gardening.

She was a dedicated member of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church where she was a part of numerous auxiliaries including the women’s auxiliary, the senior usher board and travel group until her mobility declined.  Mr. Kelley passed away in 1997. The two shared 48 years of marriage and have two children (one deceased), four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

“My grandmother is the best, she has had a hand in raising me as the Christian woman I am. “, said granddaughter Nicole Garner (Bradenton, Florida) who organized the event. “I always look to her for guidance because she always said, ‘Put the Lord first and the let the Lord fight your battles and everything else will be ok.’”

Guests enjoyed music from DJ Keith Success, refreshments, gift bags and special presentations.

Ovella Kelley celebrated her 100th birthday officially on Monday, October 2, 2023. Happy Birthday Mrs. Kelley!