Violet R. Kelly

Anyone wishing to view the Celebration of Life for Mrs. Kelly may do so by visiting the Facebook page of the Saint Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church, Scranton, PA which will host the livestream.

Violet R. Kelly, 99, died peacefully Wednesday, August 17, 2022. She was the widow of Scranton native John McLean Kelly, who died in 1986. She lived most of her life in the city’s Hill Section, but also spent many summers at her cottage on Lake Kewanee in Factoryville. 

Vi, as she was known to friends, was described by one of them as a “live wire … always her own person—independent, attractive, curious.” She dressed beautifully, as much from a personal flair for fashion as respect for those with whom she interacted. All through her nineties, she was incredibly active. Only last year, she got a standing ovation for completing 18 holes of golf in the rain at a charity tournament.  

Before the pandemic interfered, she played bridge twice weekly, doggedly did Zumba at the Dunmore YMCA, and took courses at The Schemel Forum at The University of Scranton. Music was a particular passion; she sang in the Singer’s Guild of Scranton/Choral Society of Northeast Pennsylvania and her choir at St. Matthew’s United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Scranton. She generously gave her time and support to numerous organizations, among them the Women’s Resource Center, the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the Lucan Center for the Arts, and AAA North Penn. She was a shareholding member of Glen Oak Country Club in Clarks Summit, through her late uncle-in-law Bruce Lowenberg. 

Born Violet Elva Rothermel on May 3, 1923, in Klingerstown, PA, to James Arthur and Mabel (née Fetterolf) Rothermel, she was a graduate of Upper Mahanoy Township High School and Williamsport Dickinson Seminary Junior College. Earlier in life, she held various clerical positions with the Naturalization Department of the U.S. Courts, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (forerunner of NASA,) and International Correspondence Schools of Scranton. In one of the defining moments of her life and marriage, in 1947, she traveled alone with a toddler to rejoin her husband, a B-17 pilot assigned to what was then Occupied Japan. They lived there for more than two years during which time he flew the Berlin Airlift and she gave birth to twins. 

Surviving are three daughters, Marilyn Husted of Cazenovia, NY, Jane Yeomans (Bill) of Scranton, and Joan Bernard (Jim) of Manhattan, NY; six grandchildren who adored and admired their Nana Kelly, Sara D’Andrea (Scott), Alison Dyer (Alex), John Yeomans (Vonnie), Peter Yeomans (Emma), Bradley Husted (Megan), and Douglas Yeomans (Lee); three step-grandchildren, Jennifer Bernard, David Bernard, and Pamela Seley (Jeff); and a sister, Jean Miller of Venice, FL. She is also survived by 14 great-grandchildren, three step-great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and countless friends. Besides her husband of 40 years, she was predeceased by son-in-law Richard S. Husted, three brothers, Norman, Lawrence, and Willard Rothermel, and two sisters, Anna Gessner and Florence Latsha.  

Her memory will be cherished by all who loved her. As she said when her own mother died at age 90, “The longer you have them, the more there is to miss.” 

The family cannot say enough in praise of the hospice division of Traditional Home Health Care, Dunmore, and the caring staff at both Clarks Summit Senior Living and The Pines. 

Calling hours are 4 to 7 pm, Friday, August 26, at Vanston and James Funeral Home, 1401 Ash Street, Scranton.

A service in celebration of her life will be held at 10:30 am, Saturday, August 27, at St. Matthew’s United Evangelical Lutheran Church, 425 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton.

Contributions in her name can be made to the Women’s Resource Center, the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic, and Choral Society of Northeast Pennsylvania. 


  1. Regina Boehm

    My condolences go out to the family of Vi. She was a wonderful, fun loving, beautiful friend, and loved by all who knew her. We shared so many good times on the golf course, board meetings, lunch or dinner out, or fund raising projects while I lived in the Scranton area.

    Vi will be missed and my heart goes out to all of you. Regina Boehm

  2. Deborah Miller Knuth

    I have so many fond memories of Aunt Violet and the times we spent together at reunions and some holidays. Much love to all of you! May God give you peace and comfort.

  3. Mary D’Elia Marrara

    Vi will be greatly missed. We met about 25 years ago through the Philharmonic and she was always a great friend. We enjoyed so many times before and after concerts and often worked on fundraisers together through the years. Vi was often a guest in our home, she especially loved our Christmas parties. She enjoyed life and kept herself active in many activities. She was kind generous and fun.
    I offer my deep sympathy to her family.

  4. Bridget Kelly

    Very sweetly written. Aunt Vi, my heart is broken and I have tears running down my cheeks 💔🙏😢

  5. Bonnie Ritter

    Mrs. Kelly was one classy lady. So pretty and always well dressed. I’ll bet my brother, Richard Husted and her are already playing a few rounds of golf in Heaven. I know for a fact …he loved her very much. We will all miss you, Mrs. Kelly.

  6. Ray W Rothermel

    Our deepest sympathies. I will forever remember Aunt Vi , all the reunions , times in Klingerstown at Grandma and Grandpa’s , at Uncle Nevin and Aunt Florence’s , at my parents’ cottage and at Lake Wallenpaupack to name a few . She was always interested in what we were doing and Linda and I were so thrilled when she, Aunt Jean and Aunt Anna visited us in Florida .

  7. Jim Ruane

    Mrs. Kelly opened her home and her heart to our special band of friends every weekend during those wonderful days of growing from childhood to adulthood. Always warm, always interested in what we were up to, her home was ours, served with a cold glass of Tab! Love to all who loved her.

  8. Jane Coakley and Max Skjoldebrand

    We send our deepest sympathy to Joan, her sisters (and all of the Kelly family) at this sad time of loss of their remarkable and cherished Mother.

    With love,
    Jane and Max

  9. Dora Potter

    I am deeply moved by the loving description of a woman who lived and enjoyed life as a free spirit. I wish I had known her first hand to relish her inspiring energy. Condolences to her family, particularly to my friend Joan Kelly-Bernard.

    t she

  10. Joseph and Debbie Ercolani

    Dear Jane , Bill and family.We we’re so sorry to hear of Vi’s passing.Please accept our sincerest condolences.She was a vibrant, intelligent and elegant woman.She was always so proud of her family. It was an honor to be her friend and serve on the AAA board with her for all these years.She had a beautiful life and May she Rest In Peace. Sincerely, Joe and Debbie Ercolani.

  11. Paul Strunk

    Vi was an amazing person and wonderful friend to my mom…and me. My memories of her kindness and good cheer came flooding back as I read her obituary. As I’ll be unable to attend her memorial service, please accept my sincere condolences on her passing. Hugs.


    Mrs. Kelly will be very much missed by the faculty of the Department of Economics and Finance at the University of Scranton. We looked forward to seeing her at the annual dinner that honors her husband, John Kelly, which precedes the Henry George Lecture. We are extremely grateful for the support John Kelly gave to the program that featured lectures by 35 outstanding economics, including many who were awarded Nobel Prizes for their research.

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