Glenice Una (Espling) Kelley, 87, of Middleton passed away peacefully on February 5, 2021 from Leiomyosarcoma and complications from Covid-19, with her sons by her side. She was pre-deceased on February 3, 2021 by her loving husband, Gaylen B. Kelley.
Glenice was born on October 9, 1933 in Caribou, Maine and was raised in New Sweden, Maine. She met Gaylen when he was playing trumpet in the New Sweden town band. They were married on Christmas Eve 1954 and celebrated 66 loving years of marriage together.
Glenice received her RN degree from Eastern Maine General Hospital and worked briefly at Cary Memorial Hospital in Caribou. After she and Gaylen were married, their children Glen, Jon and Lisa arrived in quick succession. Once their children were in school, Glenice went back to college and received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Boston University. She taught Health Education at Danvers High School from the mid-70’s to early 80’s and was a trailblazer in the field of sex education. She received national recognition for developing a program called ‘On Becoming Partners.’ Glenice later taught at the Westford Norman E. Day Middle School until her retirement. Several of her former students have maintained contact with her over the years and she was a positive influence on so many young lives. In 1988, her teaching excellence was rewarded with a Lucretia Crocker Fellowship, which recognized teachers who had created innovative programs. She spent a year traveling to various school districts across the state to impart her teaching wisdom to other educators.
Since they were both educators and had time off in the summer months, Glenice and Gaylen delighted in taking their children camping. The family had memorable adventures, particularly in the Rockies, Alaska, and the Canadian Rockies. Glenice taught her children and grandchildren a love of the outdoors and of the beauty of nature. She was always happy to be back ‘home’ when the family spent summers at their cottage at Madawaska Lake in Stockholm, Maine. Glenice was known for swimming in the lake, even when the air or water were too cold for most people! She loved sailing in her little sailboat and kayaking across the lake with her family. She would go for walks along the camp road in the dark and was unphased by rustling noises in the woods or snakes crossing the dark road. Glenice was also famous for being able to whip up a full-course meal out of whatever was in the refrigerator if a friend or neighbor happened to stop by for a chat. Everyone was always welcomed with open arms. She was famous for her Swedish coffee bread.
Glenice and Gaylen later moved to Middleton, where they quickly became involved with the Middleton Stream Team and made many new friends in their neighborhood. While they were able, they loved going on their weekly ‘hikes with Pike.’ Glenice continued frequent hikes with her good friend Judy, no matter the weather. They would go on snowshoe expeditions and loved seeing the lambs, owls, beavers, heron nests, birds and stone walls on their walks.
In 2014, Glenice was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma and lived with this aggressive cancer far beyond even her doctors’ expectations. She was lovingly cared for by Dr. Matthew Hemming and his team at Dana Farber Cancer Institute until early 2020, when it became increasingly difficult to make the frequent trips into Boston. The family will be forever grateful to Dr. Hemming for his kindness and attentive care.
Glenice was the most loving example of living life to the fullest and treasuring every moment. She befriended so many that she met. In the end, she was determined to reach out to many of her friends and family to tell them that she loved them and to say goodbye. As she said in one of her many goodbyes, ‘You are among my shining stars and I will be the brightest star in the sky, always looking down on you and loving you.’ She and Gaylen both had strong faith and were grateful for the love and support from their church families at Marsh Chapel at Boston University and at the New Sweden Covenant Church in Maine. The family is also so grateful for the loving care and support that Glenice and Gaylen have received from Care Dimensions, especially from their nurse Erin and their social worker Clarece.
Glenice is survived by her sons, Jon (Laura) Kelley and Glen (Leslie) Kelley, and her daughter Lisa Nahatis. She is pre-deceased by her husband Gaylen, her son-in-law, Alexander Nahatis and her brother, Roger Espling. She is also survived by her loving sister, Karen (John) Erickson and her sisters-in-law Helen Espling and Zelma Merrit, as well as by many nieces and nephews and her dear cousins, Phyllis Clauson and Marilyn Bolin. She is also survived by her grandchildren Bethany Belmonte, Alison Heiden, Aidan Kelley, Erin Kelley, Meaghan Kelley, and Katharine Nahatis, as well as her great grandchildren, Lucy, Mabel, Abraham and Summer. She will be greatly missed, but her example will live on in all of us.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to any of the following organizations:
New Sweden Covenant Church, 40 Westmanland Rd. New Sweden, ME 04762
Middleton Stream Team, PO Box 333 Middleton, MA 01949
Marsh Chapel, Boston University, 735 Commonwealth Ave. Boston, MA 02215
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Attn: Leiomyosarcoma Research Program, PO Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284 (please make checks payable to Dana-Farber Cancer Institue and include ‘in memory of Glenice Kelley and Gaylen Kelley’ in the memo section). You may also donate online at: http://danafarber.jimmyfund.org/goto/kelley ( Link is Below)
Care Dimensions, 75 Sylvan St Suite B-102, Danvers, MA 01923
Services will be held during the summer in New Sweden, Maine
To send flowers to Glenice's family, please visit our floral store.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Attn: Leiomyosarcoma Research Program