Durango native Michelle Lyn Kelly died of cancer Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Durango. She was 40.
Ms. Kelly was born to Mike and Rozanne Kelly on June 20, 1972, at Mercy Hospital in Durango. She graduated from Durango High School in 1990 and Fort Lewis College with two bachelor’s degrees in business and art, with a minor in French. While attending FLC, she studied abroad for a year in Germany and a semester in Paris.
For more than 10 years, Ms. Kelly worked at Ken & Sue’s in Durango, where her family said she made some of her closest friends.
For the last three years, Ms. Kelly lived in Arvada, where she earned her master’s degree in elementary education at the University of Colorado at Denver. She substitute taught and tutored, hoping to move back to Southwest Colorado to teach.
Ms. Kelly loved to travel, and took many trips with her mom, friends and family to Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Germany, France, England, Belgium, Greece and Holland. In January, she traveled with the New Hope Kids Mission Team to New Hope Orphanage in India. The 180 children at the orphanage had become her passion since that trip. She and her mother sponsored two boys monthly.
Her family said Ms. Kelly was an “outstanding” artist. She made jewelry, quilted and painted with oils, pastels and watercolor. On Oct. 24, before being flown home to Durango, family and emergency medical technicians escorted her to the Becoming Van Gogh exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.
Ms. Kelly completed the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic twice. While in Paris, she watched the Tour de France, becoming a tour aficionado. She and her mom followed the USA Pro Cycling Challenge last year, and this year, she attended the opening weekend in Durango.
She was a member of New Hope Church in Durango.
“Michelle touched the lives of so many during her short, but very full 40 years of life on this Earth,” her family said. “We would like to thank all Michelle’s friends who filled her life with laughter, adventure, great food, God, and, most of all, love.”
Ms. Kelly is survived by her mother, Rozanne Kelly of Delta; father, Mike Kelly of Delta; brothers, David Kelly of Durango, Chris Kelly of Grand Junction and Tim Kelly of Scottsdale, Ariz.; sister, Aimee Martin of Durango; four nieces and three nephews; and one grandniece.
A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, at First United Methodist Church, 2917 Aspen Drive in Durango. After burial at Greenmount Cemetery, friends are invited back to the church for a gathering.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial fund has been set up in her name at Wells Fargo Bank, 200 W. College Drive, Durango, CO 81301.