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December 23, 1932 to July 1, 2020-Mary Rita Kellett, 87, of Gresham, Oregon, passed away on Wednesday morinig, July 1st in a Portland hospital.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Mary Rita KellettMary Rita Kellett, 87, of Gresham, Oregon, passed away on Wednesday morning, July 1st in a Portland hospital.

Born on December 23, 1932 in the Township of Rose Grove, Iowa, where her family lived and farmed until moving to Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Bred

with a strong work ethic and endless energy, she supported herself through Business College in Minneapolis and then moved out west to Portland at the age of 19. There she met and married Paul Benner and together they had 3 children. While he was frequently away due his naval duties, Mary Rita began a career

in insurance claims, constantly advancing and

eventually heading the Workman's Compensation

Department for Gilmore Steel/Oregon Steel


Mary Rita remarried in 1973 to Frank Kellett

and they travelled extensively as well as enjoying

time on their boat, the Shangri-La. They wintered

in Arizona for many years and were together for

27 years before Frank's passing.

After this, she spent most of her time with

her lifetime friends, Laurel Parrish and Sharon

Norton. Even as Alzheimer's ravaged her mind

and memories and precluded her from engaging

in her lifelong passion for reading, she was still

able to enjoy looking at picture books and was

browsing through the Pioneers of Minnesota just

before suffering a stroke on Tuesday. Mary Rita

requested years ago that her ashes be laid next to

her parents, Marcus and Marcella (Walsh) Keigan,

at St. John's Cemetery in Darwin, Minnesota. She

lost her eldest son, Marcus Benner, in 2006.

She is survived by her younger sister, Lucille

Schermann of Winsted, Minnesota, her daughter,

Jody Benner, of Gresham, and son, Michael

Benner, of Portland, 3 grandchildren, and 4 great


Services will be held next spring in Minnesota.

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