Updated: Thu 3:38 PM, Jan 31, 2013
Funeral Home: Helke
Julia Alice Kelly, 74, of Wausau passed away on Friday, January 25, 2013 at Aspirus Hospital in Wausau, WI after a valiant battle with cancer.
She was born March 17, 1938 in Concord, North Carolina to the late Rev. Robert and Hildred (Eakin) Phillips. Along with her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband Prof. John Wesley Kelly Sr.
Her father, Rev. Phillips, was a Church of the Nazarene minister charged with establishing churches throughout the South which meant that Julia grew up in various towns. After graduating from High Springs High School in High Springs Florida, she attended Bethany Nazarene College in Bethany, Oklahoma where she met her future husband John. They were married on May 28, 1956 at Lake View Chapel in Oklahoma City and celebrated their 50th Anniversary in 2006 with their family.
They moved to Wausau in 1963 where John was a chemistry professor at UWMC and Julia began her retail career with Winkelman’s Dept. Store where she eventually became the manager of both the Ready-to-Wear and Bridal departments. When the Johnson-Hill's Co. acquired Winkelman’s, she was promoted to women's clothing buyer for the entire company (13 stores). As a buyer for Johnson Hill's, she frequently traveled to the large fashion shows held in New York and Los Angeles. Later, when the new downtown Wausau Mall was constructed she opened and managed the very popular and highly successful Casual Corner women's apparel store. She wrapped up her lengthy retail career as the manager of the fine jewelry department at Younker’s.
Throughout their marriage, Julia and John collected and sold antiques saving the best pieces for the interior decoration of their home. There were many weekend drives around central and northern Wisconsin that netted them some real treasures. They became antique dealers at the Rib Mountain Antique Mall, and later Julia found a wonderful home for her antique business at the River District Antique Mall in Wausau.
Julia’s pastimes also included drawing, painting and crafting. She had the ability to take something many would see as ordinary and make it extraordinary. She was a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and The United Daughters of the Confederacy. Above all, she was a woman who possessed a very strong Faith; she dearly loved all of her children and continually prayed for them. Finally, she was a longtime member of New Hope Community Church, a caring church family that genuinely shares the true love of Christ.
She is survived by her son, Wes (Martha) Kelly of Kronenwetter, two grandchildren, Christopher (Kay) Kelly of North Branch, MN, Lance (Jennie) Kelly of Wausau, six great grandchildren, Kaedyn, Violet, Mercedes, Eliza, James, and Declan, one sister, Deborah (Kevin) Payne of Broken Arrow, OK, and three brothers, Robert (Carolyn) Phillips of Lawton, OK, James (Linda) Phillips of Tulsa, OK, and Joseph Phillips of Broken Arrow, OK.
The family would like to thank all who helped care for her these past few years. A private family service will be held. You may sign our family guest book at helke.com
Memorial donations may be made to the Professor John W. Kelly Scholarship Fund and can be made payable to the UWMC Foundation and sent to:
518 South 7th Avenue
Wausau, WI 54401