Leola, Maria Christensen Kelley, 88, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and friend passed away peacefully on February 14, 2023 at the Idaho Falls Morning Star Center.
She was born December 4, 1934, in her parent’s home of Shelley, Idaho, to Leland C. and Lottie Empey Christensen.
Leola attended school in Shelley, Idaho. She enjoyed school, loved to paint, draw, act, dance, and was also active in sports. Admittedly, she talked a lot in school which actually was one of her best talents. She graduated from Shelley High in 1953.
Leola was first married to Lyle Arnold Millard on April 9, 1954 in the Idaho Falls, Idaho Temple. This marriage ended in a divorce. Together they had 6 beautiful children.
Leola worked several jobs in order to support her family of five as a single mother. She worked many years at Huntsman's Food Town while also attending the Glen E. Clark Business College. She received her certification as an Executive Secretary, receiving straight As in all subjects.
After graduating, she got a job working for Bonneville County in the child support department. She then worked her way up to being the County Commissioner’s Secretary. She was a valued employee in this position for 27 years. Through her example she taught her children the value of hard work.
She later married the love of her life and eternal companion Norman D. Kelley on October 25, 1997 in the Idaho Falls, Idaho Temple. They had 25 happy years together. Norman had three sons from his first marriage. Together they took two families and successfully made them one.
She was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She served in all women auxiliary organizations. She especially enjoyed serving as a Girl’s Camp Leader and being a dance instructor back in the Gold and Green Ball days
With her sweetheart Norman they faithfully served two church missions. They served two years in the Australia, Perth Mission and then in the Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission. This was one of their most rewarding accomplishments in which they served the Lord with honor. They also faithfully served in the Idaho Falls Temple.
Leola was very talented in many areas, but her greatest gift was knowing how to be a friend to all. She genuinely loved deeply, and always spread her joy and love freely. Most importantly, her hugs reminded anyone that they are always worthy of love.
Truly if there were grades to be given out for one who knew how to love and live a Christlike life, she would be given an A+.
Leola is survived by her husband Norman of Woodville, ID; her children: Jill Davis (Garlyn) Hyrum, UT; Stan Millard (Barb) Idaho Falls, ID; Bart Millard (Julie) Orderville, UT; Mark Millard (Lorene) Hermiston, OR; Coy Worthen (Mark) Rathdrum, ID; Kyle Kelley Port Orange, FL; Kent Kelley (Jonnel) Midland, SD; and Todd Kelley (Betsy) Surprise, AZ; 38 grandchildren, 80 great grandchildren, and 2 great- great grandchildren.
She was proceeded in death by her parents, brother Keith, and sister Daris. In a tragic drowning accident, Leola lost her first born son, Chris Lyle Millard at the age of 18 months.
It brings our family much joy and comfort to know that she has been called to her heavenly home only to lay eyes upon her first born son Chris, and then with outstretched arms feel the long awaited embrace of his love in her mother arms again.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. Saturday, February 25, 2023 at the Woodville First Ward Chapel, 1555 N 700 E in Shelley. The family will meet with friends Friday evening from 6:00 till 7:30 P.M. at Nalder Funeral Home, 110 W Oak Street in Shelley and Saturday morning from 9:30 A.M. till 10:40 A.M. at the church. Burial will be at Shelley Hillcrest Cemetery. Those who would like to participate in the funeral service remotely are invited to view the service on a live broadcast at https://www.youtube.com/channe
We want to express our heartfelt appreciation to the staff of Reflections and Morningstar. We also thank the Enhabit Home and Hospice team, who cared for and loved Leola and Norman with great compassion. Thank you Chanse Powell with Senior Solutions. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Because Leola passed away on the day of love, in lieu of flowers, we feel that it would be very fitting for everyone to reach out to someone else in a specific act of love and service toward someone else. She would say, “Get ‘er done and do it NOW!!!”