In Memory

Donna Kelley

Donna Kelley

Donna Rose Kelley Of Napa passed peacefully from this life on November 29. She had fought a valiant four-year battle with metastatic breast cancer. Donna was born August 12, 1952 and was raised in Burlingame. She spent her professional career as a licensed clinical social worker, touching many lives with her kindness, wisdom and humility. She had a master's degree in social work from San Francisco State University. Her dream job was with the OB/GYN department at Kaiser in Vallejo where she worked with her sister, Dr. Diane Kelley. She had a unique ability to put people at ease and help them find a solution to their problems. Her courage, sense of humor, and feistiness carried her through hard times with exceptional grace. Unbeknownst to many, she was also a gifted artist. Some of her art can be seen at her memorial service. She was a generous and loving mother, daughter, wife, sister and friend. She is survived by her husband, Greg Marvin; her daughter, Rachel Simon; her mother, Lylian Kelley; two sisters, Diane and Carolyn; her brother, Richard; step daughter Betsy Marvin, step son Brett Marvin, and (not the least), by her beloved Pomeranian, Fluffers. A memorial is planned for December 12th at the Jessel Gallery, 1019 Atlas Peak Rd. Napa, from 5 to 8 pm. Donations are not requested.

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12/08/09 12:01 AM #1    

Christopher Condit

One of my favorite people of all time. So long, Donna.

12/15/09 08:38 PM #2    

Lori Francis (Salomon)

I am so very sad to loose my first "best friend". Donna and I met when we were 5 years old and stayed in touch on and off for the past 50 years. She was a fun, kind and gracious friend and I will miss her terribly.

12/30/09 06:03 PM #3    

Pamela (Tiffany) Stiverson (Leo)

Donna and I had the same illness, breast cancer stage 4, at the same time. It was ironic, that she and I both were to become "friends" again, and end up helping each other go through the biggest road of all.

I still have two of her last emails, she and I wrote to each other. I will truly miss her! I will carry the "fight" without her, beside me.

01/07/10 11:16 PM #4    

Eric Swartz

Even though I didn't maintain contact with Donna after high school, I met her former husband, Steve Simon, about a year ago at a local restaurant. We just started talking at the bar and before you knew it, we discovered this serendipitous connection. He and Donna had a daughter, Rachel, who, like Donna, is beautiful, talented, and smart. She and Donna were very close.
--Eric Swartz

01/26/10 09:48 PM #5    

Stan Drucker

Out of all my classmates I was the closed to Donna. I am saddened to hear that she has left this world way too soon.

04/14/10 06:47 PM #6    

Robert Beede

Growing up in Burlingame was the "Best of Times",but as kids, we did not know it until it came time to venture out beyond the Bay Area and create our own history. Like lots of us that went to Mills, I went all through elementary school with Donna. While in Burlingame doing some cleanup at my parents home recently, I came across a drawer full of all the old school pictures from Ben Franklin. Mr. Lyon was the principal. I remember, cause I got paddled by him with I believe Bob Minklin for doing something on the playground that we were not supposed to do. Civil disobidience begins early! Anyway, there was Donna, as cute as she is in the Memory page photo, cross-legged in the front row. She defined herself early!

The Kelly's lived just a couple of doors down from Meg and Nancy Bishop on Castenada Dr. I think Lori Francis also lived on that street. Burlingame was just one big neighborhood for us kids then. I lived up by Chris Condit, Dan Dootson, Gary Sayed, and Dennis Ratto near Old Skyline Blvd. It was at least a mile, maybe more, to the Kelly's house, but us kids walked all over Burlingame, and never gave a moment's thought to getting kidnapped or molested. Some days I would leave the house, walk down to the plaza, over to Rich Schultz's house, then up Hillside Dr. back home. The canyon was a giant playground, and poison oak was the worst that was going to happen to you.

I remember Donna and Diane were really smart. Diane was the older sister, so she was expected to set the example. Diane seemed very serious and studious to me. But Donna....Donna was charismatic! The memory photo might as well be when she was 16..Big brown eyes, beautiful shiny hair...and that "say Hi" smile! I can still see her bouncing around Mills in her cheerleader or pep girl uniform, shouting to her friends and taking it all in...being part of the high school fabric that we are now reminiscing about 40 years later. I wanted to be close to Donna when I was a teenage boy, but I was light-years behind her in self definition. It was kinda like Ron Howard as OP in the Mayberry show with a crush on Madonna! I did not know what I wanted to do with myself, but I knew if I got into trouble, or messed up in school, that defining myself would be the least of my problems! I don't know about the rest of you, but defining myself in high school was one of my greatest challenges. So, I admired Donna, because she seemed so comfortable with herself, and for that reason, she was joyous and magnetic.

I know that all of Donna's girlfriends loved her, and still do. It is wonderful that she has left such an indelible impression upon all who were so blessed to experience her, including myself. I have several mind-videos of her that have never faded. She was memorable. What a tribute to a human being, to be remembered with such love. We can all honor Donna by continuing to give to others what she gave to us! Life...what a journey!

11/23/10 02:39 PM #7    

David Wilson

      Donna had the rather unique gift of both inner and outer beauty. -and a great sense of humor. I sat next to her in English class( forget what year), and remember how astounded I was that anyone so beautiful could be so nice.  Had to give a speech in class one time, and was really nervous, and it was Donna who gave me the confidence to pull through and I've never forgotten that.--I really do believe that after this life it's on to the next  great adventure, so look forward to meeting up with Donna and so many other friends and relatives.   She was a real class act and my life is so much richer for having known her.     


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