Kelly Renee Taylor-Li, 51, of Needham, Massachusetts, died on September 6, 2019. She was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was the daughter of Robert (Ted) and Geraldine (Jerri) Taylor. She was a graduate of Jenks High School and Oklahoma State University, where she received her B.A. in Political Science. After graduation, Kelly served as a social worker for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
In 1994, Joseph (Joe) Li hit the jackpot when Kelly agreed to marry him. Kelly and Joe first met when they were 17. They were exactly the same age since Kelly and Joe share the same birthdate. They met at a high school speech tournament in Miami, OK. Kelly was kind enough to give her presentation before Joe, at Joe’s request, because Joe felt like he needed more preparation time before his presentation. Although they attended different high schools in Tulsa, Kelly and Joe became close friends. They began to date in 1991 and married 3 years later. A short time later, they relocated to the suburbs of Boston, MA where they raised their two daughters, Grace and Hope.
Kelly and Joe are 25 year members of the Brookline Church of Christ in Brookline, MA and over the years, also attended Grace Chapel in Lexington, MA. Kelly served on the Brookline Church of Christ Steering Committee for many years. Kelly committed her time at Grace Chapel in a number of ministries, including Mom to Mom, Joy Bible Study and a youth ministry called Breakout. Kelly was a believer and spoke openly about her Christian faith, which was a consistent source of strength throughout her life.
Her nearly 22 year journey as a cancer survivor began in 1998 when she was diagnosed with pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer, 7 months after the birth of her daughter Grace.
In 2011, a newspaper reporter chronicled her experience as a young mother living with cancer:
Kelly remained strong throughout her 2 decades of cancer treatments. She never shied away from the challenges of cancer therapy. If there is anyone who embodied the spirit of LIVING with cancer, it was Kelly. She lived her life to the fullest. Her strength, spirit and optimism have been an example for many others.
Kelly cared deeply about the disadvantaged and people in need. There are many examples which come readily to mind. As a college student, she volunteered her time in a Central American orphanage. She spent Thanksgiving with a friend’s elderly mother in a nursing facility. For years, Kelly volunteered her time caring for a single friend’s young children daily after school. She supported numerous friends during periods of emotional upheaval. Like bedrock, she supported and strengthened others. Simply put, Kelly had a way of making people feel better.
Kelly is survived by her husband and daughters, her parents, her brother Steve Taylor and his family of Durant, OK, her sister-in-law Josephine Li-McLeod and her family of Needham, MA, a large and loving extended family and her faithful cockapoo, Annie.
A private committal service is being held at Needham Cemetery in Needham, MA. The Eaton Funeral Home of Needham, MA is handling funeral arrangements. Memorial services are being held on 9/14/19 at Grace Chapel 59 Worthen Rd Lexington, MA and on 9/21/19 at 11 AM inThe Park Church of Christ 10600 East 96th St. Tulsa, OK.
Because Kelly was deeply committed to finding effective treatments and a cure to neuroendocrine cancers, memorial gifts in Kelly’s memory can be given to the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation, 321 Columbus Ave Suite 5R, Boston, MA 02116 www.netrf.org.
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Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation
321 Columbus Ave Suite 5R, Boston MA 02116