Obituary of Joan Kelly
Celebration of Life for Joan Kelly
Beloved, caring, devoted bride, wife and mother, Joan S Kelly was born in Washington, D.C. on July 7, 1941. She was the second of three children born to Mary and Carl Stevens.
Joan grew up in Washington, D.C. where she attended Crummell Elementary School, Langdon Junior High School, and McKinley Tech Senior High School. In 1958, when Joan was a junior in high school, a young sailor by the name of Elijah came up to D.C. to visit his family and while he was here, he met Joan. It was love at first sight. They went on to get married on August 12, 1961, at Bethesda Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. by the late Reverend Dr. John D. Bussey. From that union three children, Lisa, Karen, and Keith were born.
Joan accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior on March 24, 1953, where she was baptized by the late Rev Dr. John D. Bussey at Bethesda Baptist Church. Being close to the Bussey family, Rev. Bussey often referred to Joan as his fourth daughter because she lived across the street from the church in Ivy City and she and her sisters were always there. While at Bethesda, she participated in the Sunday School, the Pastor’s Aid Society, The Baptist Training Union, Vacation Bible School, and she also served as an ambassador with the Lott Carey Foreign Baptist Mission, and as a delegate with the Southern Baptist Convention she would give the oral report to the church that her sister Jean had written. The sisters were inseparable, and whenever you found one the other was not far away.
Joan would often be referred to as the “peacemaker” of the family as the middle child. She would often assume the role of mediator and the go-between of her two sisters as the middle child. The demonstration of her love was always genuine and sincere, and she loved everyone.
She also exemplified in her daily life that her relationship with God was more important than anything. She was a kind spirted woman who would do anything for those she loved. Her favorite song was, “God is Here”. She attended Parker Memorial Baptist Church in 1994 where she served and completed her tenure as a deaconess with her husband Deacon Elijah Kelly, Jr.
Joan earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from DC Teachers/Minors College where she pledged Delta Sigma Theta Beta Iota chapter in 1961. She went on to earn her master’s degree in Education from George Washington University and was close to completing her PhD in Education from Trinity Washington when she decided to re-direct her attention away from the work of her dissertation and solely focus her skills and talents to the art of teaching and raising her young family.
Joan was an avid educator and she spent more than 40 years working in DC Public Schools as an early childhood educator. She spent most of her teaching years at Lasalle Elementary School where she taught kindergarten. She loved teaching and you could always find her in the hallways and classrooms of the school decorating bulletin boards, collaborating and planning school programs. She loved the children, she loved teaching, and she loved to dance.
Whenever our family would gather, she would love to tell the story of being the President of the DC Chapter of the Johnny Mathis Fan Club. She would tell the story of how she boldly knocked on the door to get his autograph for the members of the DC Chapter. The smile and laughter on her face every time she told the story will forever epitomize the radiant light she is and will always be to us.
Her favorite song is “God is Here” by Martha Munizzi and despite the struggles she faced with her illness whenever she heard that song, she would muster up the strength to raise her arms and begin praising God despite it all. It was a joy to witness.
On May 8, 2022, Joan won her battle over the struggles of this world surrounded by her family and cradled in the loving arms of her husband Elijah, the children and in the bosom of Jesus Christ, she stepped into eternity to forever be free of the infirmities of this life. And in that moment, she stepped out of mortality only to step into immortality, and today we acknowledge the void because we miss her, but we rejoice and celebrate this eternal victory with her knowing that we will see her again.
Joan’s second daughter Karen Stefani preceded in her in death, and she leaves her husband, Elijah, and daughter Lisa (Frederick and Shelby) and Keith (Punitha, Nicholas, Priya and Jaya) and her sisters Jean and Reevaughn, and a host of other relatives and friends to mourn her absence. Although we miss our “Joanie Bird”, we are tremendously blessed to have had her in our lives and knowing that she is free in the presence of The Lord and will forever live on in our hearts until we meet her again is a great source of comfort and joy for us during this transitional season. To God be The Glory!!!
May God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things bless the Life, Legacy and Memory of our dear Mother, kind Sister & loyal Friend, Mrs. Joan S. KellyTo send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joan Kelly, please visit Tribute Store