Evelyn C. Kelly

July 9, 1955-July 23, 2019

ROCK ISLAND — Evelyn C. Kelly, 64, of Rock Island, Illinois, formerly of Chicago, died Tuesday, July 23, 2019 in Chicago, Ill.

A celebration of life will be held on Aug. 10, 2019, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Hauberg Center located at 1300 24th St, Rock Island.

Evelyn was born in Rock Island, to Joseph Patrick Kelly Jr. and Mary Louise (Schmitz) Kelly on July 9, 1955. She attended Rock Island High School and graduated in 1973. She went on to earn both a bachelor's degree from Western Illinois University in Political Sciences in 1984 and a masters degree in International Affairs in 1985. She wasn't done yet, though. After working in the legal field for most of her career, she decided to pursue a law degree, graduating with a Juris Doctor in 2004 and a Master of Laws in 2005 from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Evelyn practiced corporate real estate law with a boutique firm in Chicago and retired in 2012.

She was an accomplished seamstress and knitter, making custom gowns for weddings and performances, as well as outfitting all the babies of the family with beautifully knit blankets and her granddaughter with custom creations. Evelyn traveled whenever she could, taking architectural tours of Montreal and Toronto, joining her daughter on adventures in the south of France, Ireland and London, and her son on trips to Las Vegas and Paris. She also spent as much time with her children and grandchild as she could, often hosting family celebrations and trips to share her love of downtown Chicago.

Evelyn also acted as the family genealogist. Inspired by the folk tales she heard growing up, she began to use her genius as a legal researcher to trace the genealogy of her ancestors from Ireland and other parts of Europe to America and enjoyed sharing the stories of their lives, their journeys, the rules they broke and the sacrifices they made for a better life.

She is survived by her children, Lennon (Carla) Sullivan, of Rock Island, Edet Nsemo, of Chicago, Arit Nsemo, of Chicago; her granddaughter, Ashlyn Sullivan; her brothers, Joseph (Donna) Kelly III, Patrick Kelly and Brandon (Jennifer) Kelly; her sisters, Kathleen (Clark) Minor, Nancy (Dennis) Bradley, Ruth Ryan, Molly Jo (David) Campbell and Christine DeMuynck; as well as her cat, Bubba.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph P. Kelly Jr. and Mary Louise (Schmitz) Kelly; her brothers, Casey Jude Kelly and Kevin Kelly Sr; and her sister, Nora Bridgette Kelly.

In lieu of flowers, please direct donations to Toys for Tots, The Scleroderma Foundation or Sacred Heart Parish.

“We are braver and wiser because they existed, those strong women and strong men ... We are who we are because they were who they were. It's wise to know where you come from, who called your name.” — Maya Angelou

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