Mary Cordes (Mimi) KELLEY


Mimi Kelley, 97, died Sunday, March 13, 2016.  She was born in Greenville, SC, and she grew up in Braintree, MA, and Decatur, GA.  She moved to Lithonia, GA, in 1948 and was married to James W. Kelley in 1949. She has lived in the Sawgrass community since 1987.

Mimi graduated from Wesleyan College in 1939.  She served as a Chemical Warfare Inspector, throughout WWII. 

After the war, she received her MEd. from Emory University in Decatur, GA.  She taught English, Geography, and History in the DeKalb County School System for 25+ years, primarily at Lithonia High School. 

Along the way, she became Chairman of the DeKalb County English Department and won a Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge Teacher Award for writing and producing a pageant about Americans’ Twelve Freedoms. 

Upon retirement in 1975, she traveled and took up golf.  When both her mother and husband died, she decided to move to Ponte Vedra Beach. 

She was very active in the community, helping to develop the women’s golf program at Sawgrass Country Club, volunteering during the Players Championship, working at Seymour’s Bookshop in the Ponte Vedra - Palm Valley Library, reading to the PV-PV Elementary School second graders, singing with the Sawgrass Singers, and writing, producing, and acting in plays for Talent Limited. 

She was a published poet as well. She remained active by swimming, hitting golf balls, working out at the fitness center, reading, and playing bridge until just before her death.

Mimi was preceded in death by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William J. Cordes, her husband, James W. Kelley, her daughter, Margaret K. Sanderson, and her four younger brothers.  She is survived by her son, Michael R. Kelley (Theresa) of Roswell, GA.

A celebration of Mimi’s life will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2016, from 1pm-3pm, in the Atrium of the Sawgrass Country Club golf clubhouse.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Wesleyan College, Attn: Advancement Office – Susan Allen, 4760 Forsyth Rd, Macon, GA 31210-4462; Community Hospice Foundation of NE Florida, 4266 Sunbeam Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32257; or Christ Episcopal Church, 400 San Juan Dr., Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082.

Services under the direction and care of Quinn-Shalz Family Funeral Home.