The Life of Karen Anne Kelly

Karen Anne Kelly, 62 and forty-year resident of Alexandria, VA., passed away into eternal life on Saturday evening of March 16th in the Easton, MD home and wonderful loving care of her brother, Dr. John Foley and his wife, Dr. Lakshmi Vaidyanathan. Joined also in her peaceful transition was her devoted mother, Eileen Foley, her beloved husband, Michael S. Kelly and her cherished children, Michael Kelly Jr, Mary Kelly and Thomas Kelly.

Daughter of John and Eileen Foley, Karen was born on March 30, 1956 in Rochester, New York. Following her graduation from Georgetown University in 1978, Karen worked as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch in Old Town, where she met Michael Kelly. Their 37 year joyful marriage and love for one another served as the rock from which they built their lives, raised their family and gracefully managed the adversity of Karen’s illness.

Blessed with a Mary Poppins like skill-set, Karen started volunteering at St. Mary’s School Library as a parent volunteer, eventually becoming the Head Librarian in 2002. She loved her job and had a passion for nurturing children’s love of reading and discovery. Karen worked tirelessly in forming the St. Mary’s Library into its finest version of organization, tidiness, and quality of resources. Karen earned her Masters Degree in Library Science at Catholic University, while working full time at St. Mary’s.

Like a beautiful early spring day from which Karen both entered and departed this world, Karen radiated sunshine and warmth and joy and laughter. Her smile reflected her kindness and generosity. Karen was a loyal and caring friend, a loving and devoted wife and mother, an uplifting co-worker, and a wonderful daughter and sister. Karen lived her daily life as God intended, grounded in love and strength and faith, which sustained and emboldened her final battle with cancer. Karen died in peace knowing she will be joined with God in everlasting life.

Karen was preceded in death by her father, John P. Foley. Survived by her mother, Eileen Foley, by her best friend and husband, Michael Kelly, and three wonderful children, Michael, Mary and Thomas; by her siblings: John (and Lakshmi) Foley, Thomas (and Marie) Foley, Jeanne (and Ted) Papenthien, and her beloved nieces and nephews.

The Kelly family would like to express their gratitude to her physicians, oncology doctors, nurse caregivers, and Talbot Hospice of Easton, MD for their tremendous care during her battle with cancer. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations to Talbot Hospice Foundation or American Cancer Society.

Visitation at Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home in Alexandria, on Thursday, March 21, from 6-8 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 am at the Basilica of St. Mary, 310 S. Royal Street, Old Town, Alexandria on Friday, March 22, at 10:30 am. Karen will be buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery Saturday, March 23 at 10am. Online condolences and tributes may be found at


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