{mosimageThe world lost one of a rare breed when Kathy Kelly passed away on November 4, 2009. As a true optimist, Kathy brought a sparkle and passion to life along with her deep appreciation for friends and family, a love of nature and travel, and a spirit of fight for justice and fairness for all people.

Kathy was the oldest daughter (born 5/13/1945) of seven growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She met the love of her life, Bill Kelly, in Milwaukee. After she attended nursing school at the Mayo Clinic and Bill joined the Navy, they were married and embarked on a lifetime of adventures, travel and seizing the exciting opportunities of everyday life. Raising their family in small, rural communities in Germany and England they made friends, adopted new family members and provided an exceptional childhood for their daughters.

Shortly after a move to California, Kathy began work as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital and discovered a true professional passion; she served as the Director of Staff Development for more than 20 years where she providing training, compassion, and support to both staff and patients. She also became involved in the early fight against misinformation, discrimination and intolerance surrounding HIV/AIDS as a member of the Bay Area AIDS Task Force.

Bill and Kathy moved to Australia in the 90's where Kathy worked as a nurse and counselor with an Aboriginal health center in Alice Springs. Her work was devoted to assisting people struggling with alcohol, drug, and mental health issues. She was proud of her work as an advocate for the underserved and stood tall for women's rights, LGBT rights and the rights of people grappling with mental health issues. Wherever she was Kathy sought out ways to help, to make people's lives better and to ease pain, suffering, and injustice that too frequently exist in the world. Her family and friends will miss her deeply while also finding ways to extract simple joy from everyday life.

Kathy leaves her loving husband Bill; daughters Margaret Burnett and Maureen Kelly, their partners Mike Burnett and Lis Maurer; her grandson, Benjamin Burnett and countless friends and extended family.


The family wishes to thank the incredible people who surrounded us with love, exquisite food, hours of time sitting with Mom, help managing the complicated details of a move at the end of life, and the incredible warmth and love so needed in times of loss. Special thanks to Hospicare, Elizabeth Bixler, Dr. Jamie Loehr, Father Carsten, and the staff at Longview.
Services will be private. In lieu of flowers consider supporting the Bay Area Breast Cancer Network in San Jose, CA and please buy yourself a large cold drink and toast the loss of a truly fine woman who is now free of pain. Cheers.