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Margret Kelley

Margret Kelley

March 4, 1918 – May 19, 2017

Margret Kelley was a part of Commerce for almost a century. The only child of Felix and Myrtle Phillips Guthrie, she was born in Commerce at a time when downtown had wooden walkways and the grocery store owned by her grandfather “Gus” Phillips used a horse drawn cart to make deliveries. She was fond of pointing out that when Commerce went to concrete sidewalks Gus made sure to embed in the sidewalk in front of his store a horseshoe which remains there to this day. Margret’s grandmother Maggie Phillips had arrived in Texas as a small child, having traveled from Tennessee by covered wagon in the 1870’s. Margret and her parents Myrtle and Felix Guthrie, a Commerce pharmacist, lived for years in a house on Bonham Street next door to her grandparents Gus and Maggie Phillips.

After suffering through the Great Depression as a young girl, in 1935 Margret graduated from Training School, a part of what was then East Texas State Teachers College. Margret later obtained both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in education from East Texas State College.

She began a teaching career in 1938 at Spring Hill, near Longview, a time and place which was in the middle of the East Texas oil boom. After getting her Master’s degree she taught for almost 30 years in Commerce public schools.

On August 16, 1941, less than four months before Pearl Harbor, she married Woodrow L. “Woody” Kelley. When the war started he became a ensign in the Navy and they lived in Norfolk, Va. where he was stationed. When he was reassigned later in the war they moved to St. Louis, Mo., where their first child Michael G. Kelley, was born in 1944.

After the war they returned to Commerce, last residing in a house on Bonham Street they bought in 1957. Although she obtained two college degrees and taught school for 30 years, Margret never thought it sufficiently useful to learn to drive a car, preferring to walk everywhere even when a ride was available but often relenting when the weather was bad. She usually walked to downtown Commerce at least once a day until a few months after her 98th birthday. Her husband Woody, retired as V. P. of Business affairs for East Texas State University, died in 2002.

Margret died peacefully in her sleep in the same house on Bonham Street where she had lived for the past 60 years. She is survived by sons Michael Kelley of Wimberley, Timothy Kelley of Denton and Patrick Kelley of Whitehouse, along with his wife Donna. She is also survived by grandchildren Regan Kelley of Austin, Christopher Kelley of Washington, DC, and Matthew Kelley of Arlington as well as by cousins Larry Phillips of South Charleston, OH and Peggy Morrison of Barboursville, WV.

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I so loved Margret as my 6th grade teacher. She "got me" when I had particular learning struggles. She never made me feel less for in a world where it was hard to be different. Tim was my friend , and I know he was close to her..God bless you and your family. Cathea Dunham

cathea dunham Jun 3 2017 12:00 AM

I feel as though I knew Mrs. Kelly from being friends with Tim the past 30+ years. I wish that I could take away the sadness of your loss. To the entire Kelley family, I offer my heartfelt sympathy. Most Sincerely, Steve Biggs

Stephen Biggs May 30 2017 12:00 AM

Michael and family, you have my prayers and sincere sympathies in the loss of Mrs. Kelley. She was a grand lady, and I am sure leaves many wonderful memories with you.

Ron Thomas May 28 2017 12:00 AM

So sad to know of Margret passing away. As a fellow Training School graduate we all had a bond of friendship. I was also a member of Afflatus Culture Club with her. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

Rheba Martin Icenhower May 21 2017 12:00 AM

Our deepest condolences and prayers to your family. From what we've heard Ms. Kelley was a very strong and wonderful lady. She lived to see everything. May she rest in peace. She will be greatly missed!

Luis & Mary Njnez May 21 2017 12:00 AM

To Mike, Pat and Tim, We are sending love and sympathy to each of you in your loss. She was an amazing lady. We have many fond memories of her, Woody, your Grandmother, Myrtle and each of you from growing up in Commerce. It is so sad that an important person in Bonham Street and Commerce history is now gone. Fondly, Judy Cranford Summers, Beaverton, Oregon Bill Cranford - Houston, Texas

Judy Cranford Summers May 21 2017 12:00 AM

So sorry for your loss. Fond memories of Mrs. Kelley and times spent with Tim at the house in Commerce.

David Roland May 21 2017 12:00 AM

What a lovely soul she was! She will surely be missed. My heartfelt condolences for her family.

DeLana Metcalf May 20 2017 12:00 AM

So sorry for your loss. Keeping your family in prayers at this time. Genuinely, Ruth

Ruth Potts May 20 2017 12:00 AM

My prayers and throughts are with everyone.

Jan Wright May 20 2017 12:00 AM

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