TUPELO – Barbara Miller Kelly, 73, died Saturday, May 10, 2014, at her residence. She was born Dec. 30, 1940 to Joseph P. II and Edith Anglin Miller at Gilmore Sanatorium in Amory. She married the love of her life, Capt. Alfred C. Kelly, on April 18, 1970. He preceded her in death on Aug. 25, 1982. Mr. Kelly was an 18-year veteran of the Tupelo Police Department.
Barbara graduated Tupelo High School in May of 1959. She started working as a PBX operator at N.M.M.C. in June of 1959. In September of that same year, she enrolled at Itawamba Junior College to be a commercial artist but during her second year, she switched to a nursing agenda for the remainder of that year. After that, she enrolled at Baptist Memorial Hospital, School of Nursing, in Memphis, Tenn., but she only stayed less than a year before enrolling in a two-year nursing program at Northeast Junior College. During those years at college, she continued to work part-time at a medical center in various positions in the business office and then as a ward clerk and finally, a nurses aid. After she graduated in September of 1965, she became a full time registered nurse. For the first five years, she was in charge of the emergency room and in 1970, took the position of head nurse on Med. Surg. wing until 1989, when the floor closed to become a step down for respiratory patients. In October of 1990, Barbara left the NMMC and was hired in as Med. Surg. nurse on a 50-bed unit at Baptist Memorial Hospital in New Albany. In December of 1995, however, she had to retire due to the worsening of health problems.
Throughout her years after college, Barbara became an active member of the American Nursing Associating and Mississippi Nursing Association for 27 years. In these organizations, she held numerous positions including: president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. In 1976 she was nominated as one of five top women of that year by her fellow nurses. She served as the president for the Women’s Civitan Club and the American Council of Alcoholism. Also she was a board member of Safe Inc. She was a former honorary member of Tupelo Police Wives Organization and was a member of multiple other groups such as, Arthritis Foundation, American Heart Association, Humane Society of United States, Davis Day American League, A.S.P.C.A., Running Strong for American Indian Youth and Council of Indian Natives. At the age of 46, Barbara became board certified as a Med. Surg. at the NMMC after successfully passing a two day exam.
Barbara was of German and Chickasaw Indian decent on her paternal side and English-French on her maternal side.
Barbara was a strong animal activist and highly supported the no-kill humane societies, punishment of those who commit animal cruelty and spay and neuter animals. She fed more than 75 to 100 cats and dogs over the years and had two very special pets, Scooter, a miniature red dachshund, who passed in 2008 at the age of 14 and Gizmo, a mixed Pekinese, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16.
Services will be 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, 2014, at Jefferson Street Chapel of W.E. Pegues. Burial will be in Tupelo Memorial Park.
Survivors include special cousins, Larry Fears (Dot) of Tupelo and Carolyn Williams of Missouri; step-children, Debbie Mask of Sherman, Steve C. Kelly (Darlene) of Cabool, Mo.; aunts and uncles, Elouise Miller Smith of Okolona, Buddy Miller of Hatley, Virginia Miller of Corinth and Virginia Duke (Jim) of Memphis, Tenn.; grandchildren, Amanda Mask, Jonnie Mask and Summer Mask and their spouses and children, Scottie Kelly; several other step-grandchildren, a very special great-granddaughter, Heather Kelly Cox (Rick) of Nettleton; a very special caregiver and friend, Amanda Thompson (Andy) of Mooreville; and many longtime neighbors and friends, Jim Pittman (Jean) and their children, Bonnie and Emery, Mary and Amy Davis and their children, Hannah, Ilise and Mary Katheryn.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Al; her parents; her grandparents; one step-son, Clint Kelly; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins; and many human and pet friends. She dearly loved them all.
Pallbearers will be Chuck Aron, Jimmy Ivy, Larry Fears, Mark Davis, Emery Pittman, Steve Kelly, Shane McGee and Andy Jones.
Visitation will be 4 to 9 p.m. Monday, May 12, 2014, at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity of your choice .
Expressions of sympathy may be left at www.peguesfuneralhome.com.
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