Delta Kelly

In the News

     This newspaper article entitled "Rochester's newest school name makes use of family ties" was printed in the Rochester Observer and Eccentric the summer of 2002 by staff writer Steve Kowalski.

     With less than two weeks before the start of the 2002-03 school year, workers are busy finishing the landscaping surrounding the new Delta Kelly Elementary School on Adams Road north of Gunn Road in Oakland Township.
     The Late Delta Kelly, a former teacher in the Rochester Community Schools, would know what to do with all that dirt.
     Kelly lived on a farm, after all, and one of her prized possessions was her wheel barrow.
     It's the inside of the modern-day building which she she might have found foreign. Kelly taught third grade at Baldwin Elementary during a simpler time in the 1940's, '50's, '60's and early '70's when teachers did all their lecturing from books.
     In fact, some of Kelly's early teaching took place in a one room schoolhouse, said her daughter, JoAnn Kelly-Bourez.
     "I can't picture her on a computer," said her granddaughter, Sue Wood, a physical education instructor at Long Meadow Elementary School. "She'd rather plant a tree."
     Kelly made a name for herself as both a teacher and environmentalist.
     Kelly, who passed away at age 82 in 1993, appreciated the simple things in life. For example, she'd take her students and grandchildren on nature hikes.
     Co-founder of the Oakland Township Historical Society, Kelly is the only woman to have her name on one of the 13 elementary schools in the district.
     The school is a short drive from where she lived on Gunn Road near Orion Road. She and her husband, Wendell P. Kelly, also deceased and a teacher, enjoyed the rural surroundings.
     "We used to ride our bikes out there," Wood said. "You can't do that anymore. You'd get hit by a car."
     "When we went to grandma's we were always outside. She liked gardening and transplanting trees. She had a rope swing hanging from an Oak tree on Paint Creek, which went right through her yard. She dammed up the creek so we had a place to swim. When her possessions were divvied up (among family) everyone wanted her gardening tools because that's what reminded them of her the most."
     The Oakland Township Historical Society requested her name be put on the newest elementary school in the district and the School Board obliged.
     "It came as a total surprise, we were absolutely astounded, excited," said Kelly-Bourez, one of her five children. "It is wonderful."
     "We were in tears," said Susan Wood, Kelly-Bourez's daughter. "I cry thinking about it."
     Delta Kelly is not the first family member to have a building named in their honor. Kelly's brother-in-law, the deceased Bill Kelly, was a coach at Central Michigan University and has his name on the Chippewa's' football stadium: Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
     JoAnn Kelly-Bourez said 21 Kellys have graduated from CMU and many of them became teachers.
     Wood is a fourth-generation teacher from the Kelly side of the family.
     Kelly-Bourez and Wood's father, George McVeigh, also were teachers.
     Kelly-Bourez just retired as a counselor from Lake Orion Middle School and started her teaching career in the Rochester district. McVeigh is a retired teacher from the Rochester district.
     "It's a teaching family, very much," Kelly-Bourez said. 


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