Mary Rita Kellett
Mary 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.