Celebrating with ‘Miss Eileen’

Milestone birthday brings matriarch’s family home to St. Lawrence

Published on July 19, 2011
On the agenda was a family photo of Eileen Kelly with all 17 of her children. (Front, from left): Ed Kelly, Sherri Edwards, Eileen Kelly and Rudy Kelly. (Middle, from left): Judy Turpin, Toni Loder, Theresa Brockerville, Monica Kelly, Gert Clarke, Barb Audeux, Jean Letournel, Aggie Slaney and Eileen Hurley. (Back, from left): Gord Kelly, Wayne Kelly, Vic Kelly, Barry Kelly and Brian Kelly. Cynthia Farrell Photo
Cynthia Farrell Photo

What better time for a family reunion than to celebrate the matriarch’s 80th birthday?

That was the case when Eileen Kelly of St. Lawrence reached the milestone back on May 17. ‘Miss Eileen’, as she is commonly called, welcomed home all 17 of her children a few days later.

Married to St. Lawrence native Robert Kelly, who was a Merchant Marine in Halifax, in 1948, she gave birth to her first child, Monica, a year later and 16 more followed over the next 23 years.

Mrs. Kelly was a devout stay-at-home mom, while her husband worked at the fluorspar mine.

Together, the couple resided ‘Down the Dock’ in St. Lawrence until moving to Laurentian Avenue in 1979, where Mrs. Kelly still lives. Unfortunately, Mr. Kelly, who had developed silicosis, passed away from the disease just a year after the move.

On May 21, approximately 75 family members from across Canada, and St. Pierre and Miquelon, converged in St. Lawrence to help celebrate the momentous occasion.

Along with her 17 children, the group included 23 of her 41 grandchildren and 10 of her 17 great grandchildren.

A private supper took place for the immediate family at the RC Parish Hall. It was followed by an open house for all those who wished to drop in – estimated at 250 or so - to wish her a happy birthday.

The day also included a visit from Grand Bank MHA Darin King who stopped by to pass along greeting on behalf of himself, Premier Kathy Dunderdale and the province.

The occasion marked the first time the entire family has managed to come together in 22 years.

Mrs. Kelly, whose goal in life is to pray for her family, prefers to stay at home and only leaves to go to church!