Janet Kelsay, age 89, passed peacefully on November 21, 2019. Born in Fairmount, IN, on April 1, 1930, she was the daughter of the late Josephine Burgan Kelsay and Oren W. Kelsay.
A former resident of Bloomington, IN, Westford, MA, and Houston, TX, Janet worked 29 years as a Fortran programmer for Honeywell, but her true vocation was music. A gifted soprano, she was a 1952 graduate of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music where she was featured in a number of productions. The highlight of her lyrical journey came when she performed with The Boston Symphony Orchestra as a member of Chorus pro Musica, one of the great choral ensembles of New England. She was a 50-year member of Mu Phi Epsilon, the national professional music organization, and served as a paid soprano for a large church in Westford, MA, for many years.
She and actor James Dean were 2nd cousins and often played together as children in the quiet Quaker farming community of Fairmount. She recalled frequently visiting back and forth on their family farms on Sunday afternoons. They were both particularly fond of climbing the apple trees to eat green apples, salt shakers in hand.
Janet enjoyed traveling across the United States and mastering the preparation of regional cuisines. She completed several courses at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. She was also an accomplished weaver.
She was preceded in death by her sister, Mary Agnes Evans, and brothers, Robert W. Kelsay and Gene Kelsay. Janet is survived by her younger brother, Joe Kelsay of Salome, AZ, and a large, loving, group of multigenerational nieces and nephews who greatly enriched her life.
Per Janet’s wishes, there will be a private family memorial service at a later date. Those who wish to honor her memory with a donation may direct their gifts to Fairmount Friends Meeting, the church that fostered her love of God and music.
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