Monday, August 20, 2007


Happy Birthday Mom, I love you.

I wanted to write something profound (wouldn't that be a first) about my mom today, but frankly I don't have it in me. Her obituary, which was co-written by my brother and I, will have to do.

It doesn't say anything about her quirky sense of humor or her incredible cooking skills. It doesn't mention that she was a defender of the innocent and a rescuer of animals. In fact, looking back, it barely skims the essence of who she was, but it's the best I can do today.

Take good care, all, and have a wonderful day. Hug the ones you love and remember to cherish every single moment you have on earth. If your day seems to be going poorly, find something good to focus on and be thankful for it. It will bring more good to you, it truly will.

Today I am thankful for the nearly 45 years I had with my mom and best friend, Olga Kelley.

Olga ‘Grams’ Kelley

ABSAROKEE — Olga L. Kelley, 74, died Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2001, in the loving arms of her family. Grams was born Aug. 20, 1926, to Nels and Ella Bjorndal and was raised on Butcher Creek. She married Bill Kelley on Dec. 15, 1945. Olga and Bill made their home in Absarokee. She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and friend.

Olga always involved herself in the community. She was a Boy Scout den mother, a Girl Scout leader, a counselor at Girl Scout Day Camp, a Civil Air Patrol leader, a volunteer for the Red Cross as well as running the Stillwater News and later the Absarokee Hardware Store. She always had a houseful of kids, even after her own were grown. One of her favorite activities was taking her yearly hike from Cooke City to East Rosebud. Most years, she took an assortment of kids from the Absarokee area with her. For many of them, it was their first hiking trip ever. Her last trip was taken when she was 65. Even after rheumatoid arthritis limited her physically, she still gave to the community by volunteering at Absarokee Schools as a reading tutor. She was an avid supporter of the Beartooth Nature Center.

Olga is survived by her husband, Bill; children, Mike Kelley of Absarokee and Laurie Kelley of Roberts; grandson, Nels Kelley of Roberts; adopted grandson Jess Everett of Roberts; and step granddaughter, Abbigail Ryman of Gillette. She is also survived by her sisters, Jeanette Petersen of Billings, Nora Hinton of Absarokee; her brothers Norman Bjorndal and John Bjorndal of Absarokee; two special nieces, Kay and Sharon McKittrick of Billings; two favorite nephews, Danny and Dale Petersen of Billings and close friend of the family, Dave Easterday of Cooney Dam.In accordance with her wishes, she has been cremated and no funeral service will be held. A celebration of her life will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2001, at 4 p.m. at the Kelley’s house in Absarokee. Memorials should be sent to the Beartooth Nature Center in Red Lodge.

Published on Monday, August 20, 2001.Last modified on 8/20/2001 at 12:50 am


Gina said...

My condolences on the loss of your mother. Even though the pain is not fresh, I'm sure it still hits you every day.

She sounds like a fabulous, dynamic woman!

Carol said...

Wow, Laurie, what a lovely tribute. You are so very fortunate to have such a wonderful role model. In fact, your whole family is pretty special. Little wonder you turned out the way you did! I know I haven't been around much lately, but I do think of you often and I certainly will be thinking of you today.
Much love,

NatureWoman said...

Your Mom sounds like she was a wonderful person and a great Mom! I agree, hug often, and enjoy and find the good in every moment. Life is way too short. {{{HUGS}}}

Cathy said...

I love how you loved her. Not all families are blessed with such beautiful bonds. I know she was a special woman, Laurie, and that you miss her every day.

I can't imagine how difficult the next months were for you as Sept 11 loomed on the horizon.

You are so right about giving love every day and focusing on our multitudinous blessings.

Big {{Hug}}

Ur-spo said...

i have missed you; i am glad to be back on line and reading my daily dose of DMMGMFM!!!

Laurie said...

Gina, she was a gem. I'm so lucky to have had her in my life. Thanks!

Carol, I've missed you and though I don't see much of you I think about you often as well. Love you too girl and thanks.

Naturewoman, Hugs back, honey. I know this was hard for you to read, thanks for making it through.

Cathy, 911 was horrific, to be sure. Wolf, in his infinite wisdom said that he knew why grams had to go when she did. She needed to be there greet all of the victims of the attack and welcome them to heaven. He's an amazing person with a far greater understanding of life and death than I'll ever have.

Ur-spo, I've missed you too! Welcome home!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

That's a lovely tribute, Laurie. I'm thankful that you are blessed with your memories of your mom.

Dave said...

What love and energy pouring out of your site. You are an example of tender feelings and emotions. I thank you.

Squirl said...

That was a lovely tribute to a lovely woman. The hurt never really fully goes away, does it? But at least you have warm, loving memories of your mother, as do I.

There are so many women out there who aren't prepared to be mothers who have children anyway. They keep their offsprings' therapists busy. But it sounds like you were blessed with a wonderful, caring mother. It shows in her daughter.

Love and many hugs to you.

Laurie said...

Nick, I was blessed to have two wonderful parents. I wish everyone had been as fortunate as I am. Thank you.

Dave, there are those that think I'm too emotional and tender, but I can't change who I am and I don't think I want to.

Squirl, I do have fantastic memories of my childhood and the years I spent with my parents. I am so very lucky.

MsLittlePea said...

Big Hugs Laurie. I don't think one ever gets over losing Mom. You were very lucky and so was she to have you.

Bonita said...

I think you are experiencing the ineffable - how to describe how wonderful your mom was and how much you love her. Words just don't make it...but, this is really a loving tribute.

Mary said...


Your Mother must have been a wonderful woman - as stated in her obituary. But really, she raised YOU, and that proves how great she was.

I read this with tears in my eyes. Mothers are so special and sometimes we take them for granted until they are gone. I'm guilty for that.

Major Hugs,

Laurie said...

Mspea, I don't think you do get over losing your mother. No matter what her age or yours. I still think it's her on the phone when it rings and I still reach for it to call her when something exciting happens. But she's there in my heart, and I'm glad of that.

Bonita, there are no words, you are so right.

Mary, I didn't always appreciate my mom, but all that changed when I had my son. Then I realized that she really DID know everything! Major hugs back to you.

LauraO said...

A beautiful tribute, but the best one is how you remember and keep her in your heart and mind. I will make time to call my Mom today and talk with her for a while. Thanks.

Pam said...

A wonderful human being, your mom, whose legacy is her incredible children. Bless you all.