Marylin T. Kelly
Marylin Kelly of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, passed away peacefully at the age of 76 on Saturday, February 12, 2022, surrounded by her sons, after a long battle with cancer.
Marylin began and completed her life near the ocean. She was born to Mary (Flak) and Edward Majkowski in Southampton, New York. While at Southampton High School, she played clarinet in the band and roving guard on the basketball team and was selected as an American Field Service International Scholar traveling to Colombia. Her academic achievements were honored with a Regents Scholarship to attend Cortland College, where she was active in the Nu Sigma Chi sorority and earned a degree in elementary education. Marylin worked as a school teacher before staying home to raise three children. She returned to education as a learning disabilities tutor before embarking on a career as an auditor for the State of Ohio, rising to audit manager before retirement.
Marylin was many wonderful things. The following list names but a few:
A Child of the Ocean
Marylin grew up on Long Island, a bike ride away from the ocean. She would go there to swim, socialize, and work during the summer at Cooper’s Beach. After moving to Ohio as an adult, she would take her kids back to Southampton every summer to swim in the ocean, bury each other in the sand, go on long beach walks, and make memories. She always said that when she retired, she would like to live near the water, which eventually led her to New Smyrna Beach.
Education was a deeply held value in the family. The grandchildren of Polish immigrants on both parents’ sides, Marylin and her brother, Jon, were the first in their family to attend college. After studying elementary education at Cortland College in upstate New York, Marylin taught elementary school and then later served as a learning disabilities tutor for students in middle school. In all aspects of her life, her values as a teacher shone through. In her parenting, she was patient, forgiving, and encouraging. “They’re learning!” she would say. Her educational outlook also showed in her managerial skills when she was an auditor as a second career. “You want Marylin as a manager,” her coworkers would say, “because she was a teacher. She doesn’t just punish people for their mistakes; she expects you to learn.” Throughout her life, she found value in all people, sought to understand the perspectives of others, and was ready to offer support when it was needed. In other words, she was a teacher to the core.
Marylin loved being a mother. “Best job I ever had!” she would say. She made Christmases absolutely magical and put on amazing holiday dinners, served on fine china with crystal glasses. Halloween was a creative feat, with homemade costumes ranging from Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica) to The Incredible Hulk, from Gumby to a knight in armor. Birthdays came with a homemade cake in any shape her kids dreamed up (airplane, fish, rocking horse, and more), and there was always a poster-sized birthday sign when they woke up on their big day. Raising three boys by herself after a divorce wasn’t easy, and she made many sacrifices. Her priorities were always clear in her words and actions: family, education, and dear friends. She was such an attentive mother that she could even intuit what moods her sons were in by overhearing them practice the drums (Disciplined? Creative? Angry? Contemplative?). Whenever her kids were upset or had a problem, she always knew the right thing to say, even if there was no clear solution. She had an uncanny ability to re-center them when their lives were out of balance.
She absolutely adored her grandkids, who called her Babchi, which is Polish for grandma. She made them feel seen, appreciated, and respected, and she loved visits with grandkids more than anything. One grandchild appreciated his Babchi on a Mother’s Day card still proudly displayed on her fridge the day she passed:
I love it when you send us cookies.
I love it when you take us to the movies.
I love it when you read books to us on the couch.
I love it when you come and visit.
You are a very good grandma.
Family photos and stories from friends make it abundantly clear that Marylin was fun! She found joy in her kids and grandkids, her friends, events, parties, and family traditions. Despite the world’s many cares and worries, Marylin enjoyed everything from big occasions to everyday moments, and she brought joy to those around her.
When her kids were about preschool age, she had them convinced that after she put them to bed, she would suit up as Wonder Woman and head out to fight for Justice. She used her invisible jet, of course. That’s why they couldn’t see where she had it parked. If there be any doubt that she was in fact a Wonder Woman, consider that after her divorce, she took night classes in accounting while raising three boys, continuing to make dinners, wash clothes, and take care of everything else they needed. Later in life, she fought gender discrimination at work and helped to break the glass ceiling for female executives and all who came after her. Toward the end of her life, when she heard stories about voter disenfranchisement, this septuagenarian cancer patient volunteered to register people to vote. She fought for justice, to be sure.
A True Friend
Marylin had a knack for making amazing friends in every place she lived. To quote one such friend, “Marylin loved well. And she was well loved in return.”
In accordance with her wishes, Marylin’s ashes will be scattered on the ocean near New Smyrna Beach.
She is survived by her three sons and their spouses, Scott and Yuko Kelly, Matt Kelly and Amy Goltz, and Brian Kelly and Caitlin Sticco; her four grandsons, Andrew, Ben, Quinn, and Logan Kelly; her sister-in-law, Berna Majkowski; and her two nephews, Ed Majkowski and David Majkowski (and spouse Kim). She is preceded in death by her brother, Jon Majkowski, and her faithful dog, Elsa.
Services will be held privately by the family. In lieu of flowers, the family recommends that those interested make memorial donations to one of Marylin’s favorite charities:
Vincent DePaul Society–specify “to help New Smyrna Beach Families”
Make check out to St. Vincent DePaul Society
St. Vincent DePaul Society
3171 S Ridgewood Ave,
Edgewater, Fl 32141
Jude Children’s Research Hospital