She is survived by her husband of 47 years Glenn James Wessels, her beloved dog Lulu, and two sons Brian Wessels (Rhonda) of Rohnert Park, CA and Marc Wessels (Tari) of Indianapolis, IN. Survivors also include her grandchildren, Amanda Schutte, Patrick Wessels, Allison Wessels, Madison Hamblen all of Indianapolis and Brandon Wessels of Rohnert Park, CA. She had six great grandchildren Emerson, Sawyer, Caiden, Carter, Evan and Liam and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Born in New Britain, CT she was the daughter of Robert Patrick Kelly and Lucille Cole Kelly and the sister of Robert Patrick Kelly, Jr. all of whom pre-deceased her. Her remaining siblings are Deborah Kelly of Petaluma, CA and Margaret Kelly of Vestal, NY and sister-in-law Patricia Kelly of Southington, CT.
A graduate of Southington High School in Southington, CT, she earned both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Central Connecticut State University. She taught in elementary, junior high and high schools in Connecticut, North Carolina, Missouri, and Indiana and went on to obtain her principal’s license from Indiana University. She was also an adjunct professor of Secondary Art Education at the Herron School of Art at Indiana University and the University of Indianapolis.
A devoted and energetic advocate for arts education, she served as a Visual Arts Administrator to Washington Township Schools in Indianapolis. She also served on committees at the local, state and national level and as President of the Art Education Association of Indiana for two years. As President she led a group of art educators on a cultural exchange trip to Japan.
In 1995, she was named Outstanding Art Educator of the year by the Art Education Association of Indiana in recognition of her outstanding performance as a teacher, administrator, artist, collaborator, lecturer and contributor who elevated the status of art education on a local, state and national level. This award led to her being awarded the 1996 National Art Education Association Art Educator of the year given to her at the national conference in San Francisco, CA.
In 2000, she applied for and received the Lilly Creativity Fellowship. Her focus on the works of Michelangelo took her on a three week tour of Italy where she walked in his footsteps. The study resulted in a video used to teach art students about Michelangelo.
She was loved and admired for her enthusiasm for life, her creativity, her wonderful sense of humor and her generosity. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the Kelly Family Scholarship Fund (checks made out to Deborah Kelly/Scholarship, 472 Park Place Drive Petaluma, CA 94954). This fund provides scholarships for students pursuing a degree in education.
Services will be held at Crown Hill Funeral Home on Monday, May 22, 2017 at 12pm with a visitation two hours prior.