Monday, October 26, 2009

R.I.P., Mae Kelly, 1917?-2009

Mae M. Kelly, former American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (ABFMS) missionary in Haiti for 36 years, died October 6, 2009 at the age of 92.

Mae was born into a Christian home in Jamaica, as Mae Marguerite Lord. Her parents were active in the Christian Missionary Alliance and were instrumental in planting a church. Mae accepted Christ at the age of seven and was baptized at the age of 15, while attending boarding school in England. She had family members who were missionaries in China and South America and her grandfather made several evangelistic trips to Haiti, so the missionary vision was constantly placed before her.

When Mae met Charles Stanford Kelly he had already felt a call to ministry in Haiti, so together they dedicated their lives to be missionaries there. After marriage to Stan on November 26, 1938 he gave up a business career in Jamaica so they could attend the Radcliffe Missionary Training College in London, England, for theological preparation for mission service. In 1940 they moved to Haiti, where Stan became a pastor with the status of a native worker. They were appointed in 1944 as missionaries under the American Baptist Home Mission Society and in 1946 left the pastorate to serve as general missionaries. With the transfer of Latin American work to International Ministries in 1972 they became part of the ABFMS.

Mae had giftedness and love for teaching music and in particular the piano. She did so in churches, in women’s and children’s work, at camps and conferences, at the Christian University of Northern Haiti (UCNH) and to missionary children. Laurie Casseus, who currently serves in Haiti and is the daughter of former IM missionaries Harold and Ivah Heneise, remembered Mae to Annis, one of Mae’s daughters, with these words: “I have so many wonderful memories of her. She is the reason I studied music and do what I do. Praise God. Of course, I did have the encouragement of my folks, but my inspiration and my teacher was your mom. I would say she was a mentor to me, and I was blessed to have such a godly mentor.” “Auntie Mae,” as she was fondly called, was also the ultimate hostess, especially when it was time for “high tea.”

Mae was predeceased by her husband, C. Stanford. She is survived by her sons, Derek, Ron, and Brian; daughters Annis and Kathy; eight grandchildren; one great grandchild; and one brother. There will be a small memorial service at the Fraser Canyon Lodge in Hope, BC and a family graveside service in Victoria, BC. The family suggests that memorial gifts may be made payable to UCNH, designated for the C.S. Kelly Scholarship Fund and sent to the following address:

Laurie Casseus
c/o Agape Flights - CAP-1370
VENICE, FL 34285-3901.

Click here for more information on American Baptist missions work in Haiti.

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