JoAn Kelley, 83, of Chattanooga was welcomed home by her beloved Lord and Savior on Monday, April 15, 2019.
She grew up in Lake Worth, Fl., where she would eventually meet the love of her life, Robert R. Kelley, Sr. (Bob) after he had moved from Chattanooga to Lake Worth. They met in 1951 at a church tent meeting and were married on December 23, 1953. Immediately after their wedding, they left for San Diego, California where Bob was stationed during his service in the Navy during the Korean War.
Like other couples and families with loved ones in the service, they endured long periods apart. There was always the belief, however, that they would be reunited. Their bond was such that, during one leave and lacking the funds for any other transportation, Bob hitchhiked across the country from San Diego to Lake Worth to see his new bride JoAn. They would eventually make their home in Lake Worth, where they would raise their three children.
During that time, JoAn and Bob were an active team in their church. JoAn served as Sunday School teacher, church pianist, youth leader, youth choir director and church wedding coordinator. After Bob's retirement, they expanded their work in various ministries. Once again as a team, they served in pastoral care, chaplain ministry, senior ministry, pre-marital counseling and marriage retreats. This work would continue when JoAn and Bob moved to Chattanooga in 1989.
Upon Bob's passing in 2005, JoAn sought other ways to serve, including the women's prison ministry and as a volunteer at Choices Chattanooga. She would continue a ministry of encouragement through cards and phone calls up until her passing.
JoAn is now reunited with Bob, her parents Mason and Margaret Crawford, and many other beloved family members and friends.
Left to cherish and honor her memory are children, Rebecca Kelley (Chris) Gray, Robert (Sandy) Kelley, Jr. and Cynthia (Michael) Vacarro; grandchildren, Daniel P. (Susan) Gray, Ill, Robert Michael (Melissa) Gray, Richard (Tomo) Whybrew, Brittany (Nick) Dong, Lauren Garrison, Paige Kelley and Caitlin Kelley; great-grandchildren, Danielle Polk, Michael Phillips, Angela Gray, Emmiley Gray, Robert Gray, Jr., Finley Garrison and Mio Whybrew.
The family would like to thank the caring staff and new friends at Morning Pointe of Colledgedale that made JoAn feel so welcomed.
A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, in the funeral home chapel with Pastor Terry Harris officiating. Interment will follow in the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
Please visit www.heritagechattanooga.com to share words of comfort and fond memories.
The family will receive friends from 4-8 p.m. on Monday, April 22, and 11a.m.-1 p.m. on Tuesday prior to the service at Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 E. Brainerd Road.