Lois O’Neill Kelly passed away peacefully Friday at Geisinger Community Medical Center after being stricken ill at home. She was the devoted wife and widow of Paul A. Kelly.
Born at home in Dunmore on March 10, 1930, to the late Congressman Harry P. and Margaret Shea O’Neill, she was the eighth of nine children. Although she eventually moved from her childhood home, she never left the 1200 block of Clay Avenue. A proud graduate of Dunmore High School and Marywood College, she met Paul with a group of friends at the Gridiron and they were married in November of 1953. Born on the same day as his future wife, Paul was truly the love of her life.
Lois founded Country Day Nursery School in 1971. Now managed by her daughter Patrice Bonin, the school has celebrated forty-seven graduation ceremonies. Known affectionately as Mrs. Kelly to generations of pre-school kids, Lois taught the grandchildren of her original students. She prepared children for life by encouraging them at a very young age to sing, to dance, to play, to share and to care about one another, their families and their community; values that last a lifetime.
In addition to running a successful business, Lois worked tirelessly for her community and her parish, Christ the King Church. There was never a neighbor, friend or relative who didn’t feel the warmth of her kind generosity at the precise moment they needed it most. A devout Catholic, she spent many happy years attending the St. Ann’s novena every Monday afternoon with her sisters and dear friends, often referred to as the “traveling salvation show”.
Upon the death of her husband Paul in 1985, she was appointed to his seat on Dunmore Council. She ran successfully on her own in the next election cycle to become the first woman ever elected to Council in Dunmore, where she served for the next fouryears. In 2010, she was greatly honored to receive the Robert P. Casey Service award given by Neighborhood Housing Services of Lackawanna County.
Lois is survived by her cherished children, Lynn Nelson and husband Henry, Maurita Pascale and husband Gregory, Esq., Paul A. Kelly, Jr., Esq. and wife Colleen, Patrice Bonin and husband Thomas and Thomas Crane Kelly, Esq. and wife Karin. In addition, she has eighteen beloved grandchildren, Kelly Pascale Kapp and husband Jon, Robert Pascale, Daniel Pascale, Alison Pascale, Gregory Pascale, Emily Pascale, Drew Kelly and his wife Michele, Billy Kelly, Eileen Kelly, Katie Kelly, Jack Kelly, Shealyn Bonin, Ryan Bonin, Margaux Bonin, Hannah Bonin, Will Bonin, Clare Kelly and Brigid Kelly and two precious great grandchildren, all of whom where the pure joys of her life. She is also survived by numerous adoring nieces and nephews, whom she embraced as her own, sisters-in-law Eugenia and Jeanne O’Neill, and Nancy Kelly and brother-in-law Robert Kelly.
She was preceded in death by her much-loved siblings, Harry P. O’Neill, Jr., Esq. and wife Marian, Joseph D. O’Neill and wife Arlene, Margaret A. McGrath and husband John, William G. O’Neill, Esq., Paul D. O’Neill, Marion T. O’Neill, beloved cousin Anne Loftus, infant sister Eileen and six year old brother Daniel. She was also preceded in death brothers-in-law Thomas and Raymond Kelly, and sister-in-law Ann Therese Kelly.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Immaculate Conception Church, 801 Taylor Ave., Scranton, PA 18510 on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 10:00 AM. Friends may call at Vanston and James Funeral Home 1401 Ash St. Scranton, PA 18510 from two to six Monday, May 27, 2019. Memorial contributions may be made to The Wright Center for Community Health Opioid Center of Excellence, 5 South Washington Avenue, Jermyn, PA 18433.