Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Trann Kelly

April 13, 1927 - August 12, 2017
Kalamazoo formerly of Geneva, IL, MI



Thursday, August 17, 2017
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

Food and drinks will be served.

Driving Directions


Friday, August 18, 2017
11:00 AM EDT
St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church
2010 Nichols Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49004
(269) 381-3188
Web Site


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church
2010 Nichols Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
(269) 381-3188
Web Site

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
359 South Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 100
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 349-7759
Web Site

Charity of your choice


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Trann Kelly was a delightful woman to know and love and will be dearly missed. Her faith and family were her greatest joy, and her deep rooted love knew no bounds. Independent by nature, Trann was a lifelong learner. Her artistic and creative ways were evident in many aspects of her life. She had a giving spirit, especially when it came to having a voice for social justice. Trann was loyal and firmly believed in the things closest to her heart.

Marked by a time of prosperity, the Roaring Twenties emerged as a decade of economic prosperity rich with optimism and innovation. The stock market soared and people everywhere were brimming with hope. By 1927, tunes such as Gershwin’s “Strike Up the Band” and “Old Man River” brought excitement to the air. Esther A. “Trann” was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Arthur and Alva (Nelson) Gommesen on April 13, 1927. Trann joined her older sister, Marian, who always looked after her with love and affection.

Trann enjoyed a childhood typical of her generation yet the Great Depression cast a shadow of economic hardship for all. As a young girl she enjoyed dancing, as well as time spent with her family vacationing at Big Glen Lake in Northern Michigan. They eventually built their own cottage there, and to this day it remains in Trann’s family. The crystal waters of Big Glen Lake offered a young girl like Trann numerous adventures and memories she continued to hold close. Trann loved riding the dune buggies and once even went on a midnight ride. She enjoyed gatherings around nightly campfires with family and friends, always enjoying her love of time spent there.

Trann graduated from South Grand Rapids High School before attending the University of Michigan “U of M”. While attending U of M, Trann met John “Jack” Kelly and a deep, abiding love quickly aspired. Both were faithful and avid U of M fans. Shortly after Trann received her degree in Education and Jack attained his Political Science degree, the two were happily married on June 25, 1949. From Grand Rapids they honeymooned at Trann’s favorite place, her family cottage. Once there, however, the newlyweds soon discovered wedding pranks had been pulled as the cottage was deemed “closed” and they were short-sheeted, no less!

Trann and Jack moved to Elmhurst, Illinois when Jack took a position with Sears, eventually making his way as an executive. Trann taught school for several years before remaining home to care for their children Barbara and Katherine. While the girls were young, Trann and Jack built a home of their own in the area of Oakbrook, Illinois where treasured times were enjoyed by all. Trann loved art and music, and instilled her love for music in her daughters and grandchildren. Trann later became active with the Chicago Symphony where she served on the Women’s Board. Well into her later years, Trann was an avid supporter of the arts.

In addition to her great appreciation for the arts, Trann was active in her garden club and made beautiful floral arrangements. Talented in many areas, she had an eye for interior design. While Jack was a master at maintaining their gorgeous yard, Trann loved decorating their lovely home, transforming every room into a work of art. Trann was handed down this tremendous talent and trait from her father who had worked as a furniture designer.

Trann was a gracious hostess, and she loved entertaining especially at the Dunham Woods Riding Club where she and Jack were members. With their shared love of travel, Trann and Jack visited destinations such as Egypt and Greece, and traveled extensively. In her free time, Trann enjoyed reading, particularly about history. She never missed keeping up with current events, and could often be found reading the newspaper from front to back, paying particular attention to the U of M football news! An advocate for social justice, Trann was a true leader and made her voice heard, especially for those who could not. She was a loyal woman, not only to her family and friends, but for the causes she believed in.

After Trann’s beloved Jack passed away in 2015, she moved to Kalamazoo to be near her daughters. Trann remained very independent and handled all of her own affairs. She continued to be sharp minded to the last of her days. Trann was always curious, courageous and steadfast. Trann will be fondly remembered and forever missed.

Esther Anne Kelly "Trann" died on August 12, 2017 in Kalamazoo at the age of 90. Trann was preceded in death by her husband, John “Jack” Kelly in 2015; sister, Marian L. Patterson; and infant son, John Arthur Kelly. Surviving are her daughters: Barbara Kelly and Katherine (Chris) Shook; 3 grandchildren: Rebecca, John and Alison Shook; nephew, James (Cindy) Patterson; and sister-in-law, Millicent Miller. Cremation will take place. Visit with family and friends while sharing food and drinks on Thursday from 5-7pm at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Dr. Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Services will be held Friday 11am at St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church (2010 Nichols Rd.). Please visit Trann’s personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com where you can read her story, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church or the charity of your choice.