Joan Cravens Kelley, 98, of Woodland Hills, CA, died on July 11, 2020 at Hanna’s Home Assisted Living Facility. She was born on January 13, 1922 in Martin, Tennessee, to the middle daughter of Ransom and Carrie Cravens. In the early 1940s Joan attended Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, where she met the barren Maurice Kelley. Obviously in need of food, Joan decided she had to fatten him, and eventually they were married on June 21, 1941 in Detroit. Together they had three sons, Theron, Glen and Richard, but she could never fatten him. Joan was a strong, resilient, and disciplined woman whose work ethic inspired those around her. Everyone who met her easily recognized her grace and genuine concern for people. She and her husband devoted many decades to altruistic pursuits. In 1984 they founded Holly Gardens, an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment center for adults and adolescents in Holly, MI. The addiction program they launched became a model for the US Navy and eventually for centers like Betty Ford. When the children grew up and the two eldest had left the nest, Joan joined a group called Sweet Adelines. Joan loved singing and for several years, with her newfound freedom to explore her interests, had a great time singing with the group and traveling to different places to attend their shows. After the couple moved to California, Joan continued to help others by volunteering at her church and serving as an ombudsman for elderly patients in assisted living facilities in the San Fernando Valley. Although she was in her mid-80s at the time, she enjoyed taking on the responsibility of protecting people from abuse. Her work, more of a calling, helped people who could not always stand up for themselves. She is survived by: her son Theron (Terry) of Santa Monica, CA; her son, Glen of Worcester, MA; her son Rick and wife Jennifer of Woodland Hills, CA; her granddaughter Tawnya Kelley Tiskus and husband Michael from Easthampton, MA; her sister Louell Cravens MacMillan of Nashua, NH; as well as many beloved nieces and nephews. Joan was pre-deceased by her husband Maurice and older sister Loreece Kelley. A memorial in honor of Joan’s life will be held on October 9, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. in the United Methodist Church of Canoga Park to 22700 Sherman Way Church, West Hills, CA 91307. Our family would like to express our sincere thanks to Jenny Armendariz. In her final years, Joan lived at Hanna’s home in Woodland Hills, California and was lovingly cared for by Jenny, whose humanity and love was truly remarkable. We will miss her thoughtfulness, her love and her laughter. “Be a sweet melody in the great orchestration instead of an inharmonious note. The medicine this sick world needs is love. Hate must be replaced by love and fear must be replaced by belief that love will prevail.” Peace pilgrims
Published by Los Angeles Times on October 3, 2021.