Cherry Blossoms


Mary Dresser Kelley

April 13, 2021



I hope you were lucky enough to have known our mother, Mary Dresser Kelley, originally of Calais Maine (Calais Memorial HS ‘59), then a longtime resident of Needham, MA, later moving to Pine Hills in Plymouth and then to Linden Ponds in Hingham. 

You might have known Mary from her quirky little Maine border town where she developed her taste for a good clam or lobster roll.

She might have been your X-ray technician at the New England Deaconess hospital in the 60’s or 70’s where she revelled in eventful late nights before braving dark walks home at the time of the Boston Strangler.

Perhaps you were lucky enough to ride her school bus in Needham in the 80’s.  A commenter on the Needham FB group recently credited her with saving his life when a car sped through her stop signal.  You only need to know Mary to know that he probably wasn’t the only one she similarly safeguarded over the years - waiting to see that front doors opened before she pulled away and modifying the route in snow to ensure a safe walking path; everything she did, she did with intense dedication and care.

This was perhaps most evident in her mothering.  She drove a bus long before that was what “mothers” did because it allowed her the same schedule and vacations as us.  She spent thousands of hours driving us back and forth to swimming pools, volunteering at swim meets, managing team uniforms, equipment, and travel for Gator Swim Club, and just stepping up wherever she saw a need.  The only expectation she ever had of us was that we “do our best.” 

After we left home, she poured her care into professional pursuits, initially as a travel agent in Needham, Wellesley, and Cambridge. As the travel industry declined, she began working in realty and earned her realtor’s license.  She always wanted to be up with the times and in the know.  We had a police scanner at home when we were younger and took more than a few detours “just to see what was going on.”  In more recent years, she had to have the most up to date technology and gadgets, relying on Jeff’s IT advice to stay on the cutting edge.

In “retirement,” she dedicated herself to the game of Bridge, ultimately becoming a Life Master.  She was also a certified ACBL teacher and led the Pinehills Duplicate Bridge Club as its founding director.  Some of her deepest and oldest friendships were related to the game.

When Mary passed away on April 13th, she left many who love her and will miss her dearly.  Mary leaves Paul, her husband of 56 years, their children Jeff, and his wife Christine of Alexandria, VA, Lynn and her husband Brij, international teachers currently living in Doha, Qatar, and two grandchildren she adored, Katherine and Oliver.  She was predeceased by her parents Walter and Betty Dresser of Calais, Maine.  A private celebration of life will be held at a time in June.  Please contact the family for details. 


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Susan O'Leary

April 23, 2021 11:15 AM

Lynn, Jeff and Paul, So sorry to read about Mary, but what a wonderful tribute. So beautifully said. I forgot all the stuff she did. I think of all of you when I walk by your house and it is still there. I remember bowling with Mary and sharing Kerri and Lynn's birthday. Unfortunately as the kids grew and were all so involved in their own activities we went separate ways but you will always be remembered.
I do see Lynn on facebook occasionally and see what an amazing life she is leading.

peter mcloughlin

April 18, 2021 10:36 AM

I did not know your Mother, but I wanted to thank you for the most beautiful write-up in the Boston Globe.  "I hope you were lucky enough to have known ..."   What a brilliant way to begin.  Her spirit surely lives on.   thank you!

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April 16, 2021 11:20 AM
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