Marion Opal Kelly was born May 22, 1947, in Billings, Mont., to Charles and Marion Opal (Pittman) Hazen and spent most of her childhood growing up around Greybull, Wyo., with her six siblings. She graduated from Greybull High School in 1965 and moved to Cheyenne, Wyo., living with her older sister.
While in Cheyenne she met her knight in shining armor and love of her life William J Kelly. They were married Nov. 26, 1966, and welcomed their first son, William, in August 1967 and their second son, Scott, May 8, 1970. In 1973 Bill was stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base and he and Marion settled in Hermosa S.D.
Marion was married to an airman and thus kept busy with various jobs before being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1982. She continued working until 1986. However, her most beloved vocation was being a wife and mother. She was not afraid to get down and wrestle with her ornery boys. They were her pride and joy, that is, until grandkids came along. Marion handled the setbacks of life with such grace and humor that apart from her wheelchair, you’d never know her struggles of MS or cancer that she beat twice.
Bill and Marion never let her diagnosis slow them down and made sure they lived life to the fullest. They were often found traveling extensively and enjoying many places like San Francisco, Yellowstone Park, Florida, the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Launch, Disney World, Pike’s Peak and the Balloon Festival in Albuquerque to name a few. As the years went on, their travels became closer to home as they started chasing grandkids to rodeos, wrestling tournaments, volleyball games and other school events. As their grandkids left home and went to college, Marion loved to take them out to eat. Any friend of her kids or grandkids was a friend of hers. She was everyone’s grandma because she was invested in everyone around her.
Marion suffered a setback and after a hospital stay in April 2018, was unable to return home. She moved to the Philip (S.D.) Hospital in May 2018 and to Philip Nursing Home in August 2018.
At Philip Nursing Home she made many friends. One person she became very close to was Jeanette Burnett, who was also her roommate. Jeanette and Marion shared a friendship that was comforting to family when they couldn’t be there with her.
Marion enjoyed watching the “Andy Griffith” Show, the “Golden Girls,” listening to classic country, antagonizing Bill and getting into trouble with her quick wit. Her laughs were so heartfelt that it most often came out as gasping for air.
Marion had many great memories in her last year in Philip. She often saw her kids and grandkids, enjoyed several birthday parties, celebrated her 52nd wedding anniversary, rode in a parade, received several manicures and shared many gasping belly laughs.
Marion died June 21, 2019, at Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip. She was 72.
She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Gary Hazen; and sister, Debra Hatcher.
Marion is survived by her husband, William “Bill” Kelly of Hermosa; sons, William “Bill” (Sandy) Kelly of Philip and Scott (Susan) Kelly of Sioux Falls, S.D.; sisters, Beverly (Robert) Chapman of Cheyenne and Alice “Jeannie” (Charles) Kastl of Twin Falls, Idaho; brothers, Harold (Diane) Hazen and George (Judy) Hazen, both of Worland, Wyo.; eight grandchildren, Matt, Marla, Dace, Mariah, Nicolle, Rachel, Chase and Caleb; five great-grandchildren, Koyer, Quintin, Tel, Tess and Taya; and a host other relatives and friends.
In lieu of flowers a memorial is established to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the American Cancer Society.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. with a rosary service at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Philip.
Visitation will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 27 with Mass of Christian Burial at 1 p.m. at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Hermosa.
Interment will follow at 3 p.m. at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, S.D.