Martha Kelly
Martha Kelly
Martha Kelly
Martha Kelly
Martha Kelly
Martha Kelly

Obituary of Martha M.L. Kelly

Newark, Martha Kelly (Willson), age 69, died peacefully at her home surrounded by her family on Tuesday April 16, 2019.

Martha was born on April 6, 1950 in Clifton Springs, NY to the late Dr. Osbern Putnam Willson and Marion Willson.  From the time she was a little girl, Martha put others first.  She loved helping her father care for patients in his medical practice and would often use her allowance to purchase gifts for family and friends.  It’s no surprise that Martha decided to become a nurse.  She spent 42 years in a profession that allowed her to care for the needs of others.  Martha spent many years working in Labor and Delivery at hospitals in Rochester, Syracuse and Clifton Springs. The second half of Martha’s nursing career was with the NYS OPWDD where she cared for the developmentally disabled.    As a mother, Martha was selfless and nurturing.  She would attend every event her children participated in and could often be heard whistling or shouting praise over the noise of the crowd.  Martha would always make time to listen and support those she loved and would offer advice that mirrored her heart.  Martha taught her children that love is the most important thing and that no mistake was unforgivable. Her smile could light up a room and her laugh was contagious. She would often sing harmony and dance with her children making sure that they had a true appreciation for the music of the 60’s and 70’s.  Martha adored her 12 grandchildren and spent as much time with them as possible. She never missed a birthday party and always made sure to give the most thoughtful gifts. She would read books to them after school, teach them how to garden and make special “Nana treats” for them at the end of a long week. Martha would drive any distance to attend her grandchildren’s functions and would happily brag about their accomplishments while showing off their pictures to family and friends.

Being with friends and family meant everything to Martha however she also relished her quiet time during which she would garden or write poetry. She was able to see the beauty in her environment and in the souls of people she came into contact with. Martha had a true servant’s heart and would always check in on and take care of those in need. Nothing escaped her notice and she would often surprise people with thoughtful gifts “just because.” 

Martha spent every summer at her family cottage on Canandaigua Lake until it was sold in the mid 80’s.  The lake remained one of Martha’s favorite places. She would spend warm days at various beaches or boating on the water. If Martha wasn’t home tending her beautiful gardens or playing with her beloved pets, she could be found in Canandaigua on the beach, shopping at T J Maxx or any number of thrift stores, or eating a giant Abbott’s chocolate almond ice cream cone near the water. 

To know Martha was to love her and to be loved by her was a gift. Her children will have many amazing memories to cherish especially;


After hugs and kisses 

Before we walked out the door

We would say, I love you

And she’d say, “I love you more.”


Martha is survived by her children Abigail Kelly of Newark

Elizabeth (Daniel) Card-Celso of Newark

Thomas (Meghan) Kelly of Cazenovia

Jonathan Kelly of Northville Michigan.

12 grandchildren

2 brothers John (Helen) Willson of Hillsdale, MI

Tom (Diane) Willson of Hingham Mass

Several nieces and nephews

She was preceded in death by her brother Joe and niece Shelly.

Funeral arrangements have been made with the Cheney Funeral Home 70 Main Street Phelps, NY 14532 


There will be a celebration of life on Wednesday May 22, from 3-7 pm at Bristol Harbour Lodge and Golf Club 5410 Seneca Point Road Canandaigua, NY  overlooking Martha’s beloved Canandaigua Lake. All who knew and loved Martha are welcome to share stories and celebrate her life. 

It is requested that memorial donations be made to the Wayne County Humane Society


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Martha Kelly, please visit Tribute Store

Celebration of LIfe

3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Bristol Harbour
5410 Seneca Point Road
Canandaigua, New York, United States
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