Loretta Teresa (Azar) Kelly passed away peacefully on Dec. 9, 2017, surrounded by her loving family. A devoted Catholic who recited The Rosary daily, she died in the arms of her three children while they were reciting Hail Marys to her. She was a model of piety, hard work, honesty, humility, selflessness and charity. Her spirit lives on in her family and many friends.
Loretta was born in Hadchit, Lebanon, an ancient Phoenician settlement, on July 25, 1924, the grand daughter of a Maronite Catholic Monsignor and the niece of a Monk. Loretta and her parents, Albert and Eunice, immigrated to St. Louis in 1925, where the family settled in a Maronite community in the center of town. Loretta attended McKinley High School and graduated in the top 3% of her class, while working at night. Loretta started working at age 12 and never stopped.
Upon graduation from high school, to help support her family, Loretta began a successful career in business. She soon joined Bess Motor Lines, where she rose to the rank of Office Manager within one year of her employment. She was long remembered for being the only person in the region who could recite trucking tariffs from memory.
In 1954 Loretta met the love of her life, John D. Kelly III, who would later serve many years as Sheriff of New Castle County and Register in Chancery. John D. also ran the family business, Kelly’s Logan House. Loretta and John married in 1955, moved to Wilmington, and settled in a small house just one block from the Logan House.
Loretta soon thereafter began working for Monaghan Real Estate, and then began a very long and gratifying career at Maiden Lane Leasing, where she held the title of Manager. Her duties included the formation and supervision of hundreds of holding companies. She also always held a second job, that of the Logan House book keeper and Chief Financial Officer. She spent almost every evening paying Logan House bills and maintaining all books and records. Loretta never bemoaned her heavy workload, and was gratified that her efforts enabled her three children, John, Michael and Mary Ann, to attend one of the finest private schools in the region.
Loretta was a model of faith. She attended daily Mass for over 40 years. Loretta was also a long standing member of the St. Ann’s Sodality; she served on the St. Ann’s Parish Council; and she taught “Sunday School” for many years and stayed in touch with all of her students. She also continued a tradition she began in St. Louis—she and her husband invited an orphan from Sienna Hall to their home almost every weekend. Loretta centered her life around her church and service to others; her faith was unshakeable--when anyone in the family doubted his or her faith, Loretta was there to restore it.
Loretta always put others first, and she always did all that she could for those in need. She gave to charity a big chunk of her modest income. And she never refused a charity. She gave all that she had, especially to her children. She was an exemplar of faith and good works, and she served as the quintessential matriarch. Her family owes her a tremendous debt, one which we could never repay.
Loretta was predeceased by her father Albert Azar, Sr., mother Eunice Khoury Moussa Azar, brother Albert Azar, Jr., husband John D. Kelly III, and twin sons, Albert Gerard Kelly and Joseph Gerard Kelly. She is survived by her three children: John D. Kelly IV, MD (Marie), Michael P. Kelly, Sr. (Deanna), and Mary Ann Kelly MacDonald (Michael). She is also survived by her 5 grandchildren: Ann Marie Kelly, Mary Elizabeth Kelly, Joanna Gerard Kelly, Michael Patrick Kelly, Jr., and John D. Kelly Hogan. Loretta also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends, all of whom she loved dearly.
The family would like to thank those in the Health Unit of the Country House, who were very attentive to Loretta during her final years. We also thank the legion of friends who took the time to visit our mother.
A viewing will be held on Friday, December 15 from 6pm to 8pm at the McCrery and Harra Funeral Home, 3924 Concord Pike, Wilmington, Delaware 19803(Additional parking will be available at the YMCA rear parking lot with a connecting path to the funeral home). A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Saturday, December 16 at 11am at St. Ann’s RC Church, 2013 Gilpin Avenue, Wilmington, Delaware 19806. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family would request donations to St. Ann’s Church or the Little Sisters of The Poor, 185 Salem Church Rd., Newark 19713.