Mary S. Kelsey

Mary S. Kelsey, 85, of East Orleans, passed away on November 18, 2022, due to injuries sustained from a fall. 
Born in Cambridge, Mary was the daughter of Vcevold and Anna Strekalovsky, and sister to the late Vcevy Strekalovsky and Anne Jones. 
Mary graduated magna cum laude from Smith College, earning a B.A. in International Relations.  After college, she worked briefly for the Special Operations Research Office in Washington, D.C.  She married John W. Kelsey in 1959, and soon their daughter Helen was on the way.  Starting out in Princeton, N.J., where John was completing a degree in architecture, the young family traveled Europe on a Fulbright scholarship before settling in Dedham.  Mary’s son John was born in 1964, followed by his brother Dan in 1966.
The Kelseys moved to Chicago in 1968, a momentous year of civil unrest and the riotous Democratic National Convention.  City life was eventful and rewarding for Mary, as she devoted her energies to community and civic affairs.  In 1980, she launched her own firm, Mary Kelsey Public Relations, working to promote the burgeoning off-Loop theater scene as well as local sporting events.  Her clients included the International Theater Festival of Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times Triathalon and the Chicago Area Runners Association.  A runner herself, Mary won many trophies competing in medium- and long-distance races.  She was also an avid tennis player and, in her youth, a competitive horse jumper.  
In 1992, Mary returned to her New England roots, relocating with John to Orleans.  On Cape Cod, Mary served as public relations consultant to events and organizations including the Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary Capital Campaign, the Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival and the 1997 Orleans Bicentennial Celebration, which she co-chaired.  She also worked as a realtor with Wilkinson & Associates Real Estate.  Mary was a longtime, dedicated member of the Friends of Pleasant Bay environmental group, working to protect and preserve the Bay and its shoreline.  She served as FOPB’s Director and President from 2004-2011. 
Mary loved swimming in the ocean and sailing cat boats on Pleasant Bay.  She was a lifelong pianist, a serious reader, and always a dynamic presence within her community.  Although she was increasingly challenged by mobility issues, Mary’s bravery and optimism in the face of adversity were a continuous source of inspiration to friends and loved ones.  She traveled far and wide until travel became difficult, then devoted herself to the people and animals around her on Cape Cod.  Mary will be remembered as an unfailingly generous and kind-hearted soul who brought love, hope and humor to every situation. 
She is survived by her husband John Kelsey, her three children Helen, John and Dan Kelsey, and her beloved granddogs Papi, Lupita and Cali. For information on future services and online condolences, please visit