Obituary of Dorothy Honiss Kelso
Dorothy “Ducky” Honiss Kelso of Duxbury, MA died peacefully at home surrounded by family and flowers from her garden as dawn broke on October 5, 2021. She was 95, and died after a short illness.
Ducky was born to William and Dorothy Roberts Honiss in Hartford CT on April 10, 1926- a rainy night fit for a duck, her mother said, giving Ducky her nickname she favored all of her life.
She grew up in West Hartford CT and spent summers on Black Point ,Niantic, CT where she developed her lifelong love of swimming and boating and the seashore.
She graduated from Oxford School in West Hartford, a place she treasured and where she made lasting friends.
She earned a B.A. in English Literature in 1948 from Wellesley College, another institution that was a keystone in her life. Here she found more life-long friendships, participated in student government, enjoyed being a broadcaster on the radio station, and discovered a life-long love of learning.
She taught at the Brimmer and May School in Boston from 1948-1950. With close friends from Wellesley she enjoyed living in an apartment on Beacon Hill, where they had many adventures.
At a party after a football game in Cambridge, she met her husband James Gerald “Jerry” Kelso. Originally from Worcester NY, he was a graduate student at Harvard and taught at MIT.
After their marriage in 1950, Ducky loved being part of the academic community of Cambridge. She also loved being enfolded into the Kelso -Caiazza clan of relatives in upstate NY.
Ducky and Jerry had four children. Her unending devotion was always to being a mother to them. In Duxbury MA Ducky and Jerry found their true hometown. They came first as summer residents in 1955, and later moved year round to raise their family. In Duxbury they found a welcoming town, created ahomestead still in their family, and happily served the townthrough many committees, and various community groups. She always loved animals and pets, and encouraged a love of them in all her children.
Ducky’s passions of writing, nature, conservation , particularly wildflowers, history, children’s books and travels with her young family bore fruit when she became a freelance writer for a number of New England newspapers. She specialized in children’s books, author interviews and travel articles about traveling with young children. Her kitchen table was her desk,and she always put aside her writing when their children came home from school. She was the author of the book “ Old Colony Wildflowers- Our Green Heritage”- published by Duxbury Rural and Historical Society. She also wrote several family genealogies that preserved family stories and pictures. She was a docent at Pilgrim Hall museum in Plymouth, MA where she helped create and lead tours for young visitors. One of her grandsons fondly remembers the treasure hunt tour she helped create.
Many knew her as “Gran” . She was completely devoted to her grandchildren as they grew, and was a grandmother to many others. Her kitchen always had “Granny Specials”, a Kelso family homemade chocolate chip cookie. Her home was her haven and family and many friends enjoyed her unending hospitality and her interest in their lives.
She lead a rich and rewarding life and despite life’s hardshipsshe endured and enjoyed life until her quiet passing.
Ducky was predeceased by her parents, her brother William, and husband James G. Kelso and her two daughters Tass and Laurie Kelso. She is survived by her brother Robin Honiss and his wife Judi and family of Stonington CT and Vero Beach FL, her daughter Deb Kelso Pye and husband Cliff of Lawrence KS, her son Tony Kelso and his wife Jane of Duxbury MA and her son in law George Maentz of Amelia Island FL. Also by her grandchildren Ian Pye and his wife Rosie Wacha, Charlie Pye, Grace Kelso Damond and her husband Anthony Damond, Harry Kelso, Will Kelso, and Robbie Kelso, Hans Maentz and his wife Amy and their children Otto and Ellie. She was the devoted auntand great aunt to the extended Honiss and Kelso-Caiazza-Kunzclans.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to: the Wildlands Trust 675 Long Pond Road Plymouth MA 02360, Duxbury Rural and Historical Society PO Box 2865 Duxbury MA 02331, Cranberry Hospice 36 Cordage Park Circle Plymouth MA 02360.
A private family gathering will be held at a later date.
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