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Bill and Joan Kelley

  • Joan and Bill Kelley anniversary 2013

Bill and Joan (Claridge) Kelley celebrated their 65th anniversary with a party held in Bodega, where they rented a house for the weekend. Friends and family joined them at the Duck Club Restaurant at the Bodega Bay Lodge for a fabulous buffet dinner, which was served in a private dining room. After dinner, they returned to the house for dessert. Although they hosted the party, their children helped them arrange everything.

They met in summer school at Thayer Academy in Braintree, Mass. Bill sat behind Joan in math class and they discovered they had the next class together as well. After school, he offered her a ride home. Bill always said Joan she was the prettiest girl in class, which no one could dispute because she was the only girl in class. Bill gave her a ride home from school for the whole summer. They didn't have an official first date until the summer was over. They went out to dinner at the Fox and Hound Restaurant, a very nice establishment in Quincy, Mass. After two years, they were married in Quincy on Aug. 28, 1928, in the Congregational Church. At the time, Bill was a student as Boston University. After graduation, he became an accountant for several years after which he took an exam to work for the IRS. He was offered a job in San Diego and retired as an appellate conferee.

In 1942, Bill joined the U.S. Navy. He and his fellow military enlistees were called the "Pearl Harbor Avengers." They were moved from Boston to San Diego for boot camp, which they were pretty excited about. Bill volunteered for submarine service and spent the war on a submarine.

Joan was a full-time stay-at-home mom until the children graduated from high school. In 1977, she returned to school to become a Montessori schoolteacher. She taught for 10 years at Fountain Head Montessori School in Orinda.

They lived in Quincy, Mass., for seven years and then moved across the country to San Diego because Bill liked the area so much that he wanted to return there. After living there for five years, they moved to Falls Church, Va., in 1960 due to a promotion. They missed California so much that they moved back in 1962 and settled in Moraga. The last four years before Bill retired, they lived in San Francisco. They lived in their Moraga home until six years ago when they moved to Rohnert Park to be closer to their children.

Bill was "Mr. Fixit Man" because he enjoyed working around the house and yard. He built decks, retaining walls, entertainment centers and cabinets, to name a few of his projects. Joan enjoyed sewing for many years as well as tole painting, knitting, rug hooking and crocheting.

They have traveled across the country many times to visit family on the East Coast. After Bill retired, they bought a camper and joined a caravan trip on the 1,500-mile Alaskan Highway. A few years later they took a trip around the United States visiting 29 states.

Family members include: daughter, Nancy Kelley, married to Kelly McClelland, of Cotati; daughter, Deborah Kelley, of Laytonville; and son, Bill Kelley, and wife, Mae Anderson, of Sacramento. They have three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Bill's advice for a long and happy marriage: "Pick the right girl." Joan's advice: "Don't fight." They never yelled at each other and never said hurtful things to each other. They settled any disagreements by talking them out.

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