01/03/2019 - Twin Falls, ID, USA
1919 - 2019
Highly intelligent, exquisitely polite, shy until provoked, heroine to her children, reliable friend to many, Ynes ("Eenie") Maria Alastra Kelly passed after a short illness on January 3, 2019, less than two months shy of her 100 th birthday.
Eenie lived like many children of pioneering Basque sheepmen. Born in a Basque boarding house in Ogden, Utah, her childhood was spent on the Alastra sheep ranches in Hazelton, Middle Mountain (south of Oakley), and in the northwest Utah mountains around Lynn, Utah. For elementary school, Eenie studied in the historic two room Greenwood schoolhouse near Hazelton. Owing to the remoteness of the Alastra ranches, Eenie boarded at Bilbao's Basque boarding house in Twin Falls during high school and graduated with the Twin Falls High School Class of 1937.
Following high school, Eenie served as Secretary or Treasurer of several ladies social organizations, sang in St. Edward's Choir, and played piano with friends. Adventurous, she learned to fly, enjoyed camping with friends, and danced the jota at Basque gatherings.
In 1945, she married J.P. Kelly, a tall, forceful Philadelphia Marine sergeant fresh from Fifth Defense Battalion, Second Marine Division battles at Funafuti and Bloody Tarawa islands. That began a very different life for Eenie with the quick arrival of three children, homesteading east of Jerome, and helping J.P. in his legal controversies and steel pipe and electrical contracting businesses. She taught Catechism for over twenty years in St. Jerome's Parish. She sent three children to Harvard, and played a part in her two grandchildren Mary Louise and C.J. also graduating with Harvard degrees. She enjoyed listening to her granddaughter Mary Louise Kelly's daily news anchor broadcasts on National Public Radio.
At age 60, she enrolled in the College of Southern Idaho, studying computers. She amused her younger classmates with wry commentary, much of it gleaned from twenty years as Chairwoman of the Jerome County Democratic Party, membership in the Idaho Democratic State Committee, and as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
After CSI, Eenie started computer bookkeeping at Gem State Trophy where she kept the books until age 89. She won the U.S. Department of Labor Outstanding Idaho Senior Worker Award, given her with congressional fanfare in 2003.
Retiring in 2008, Eenie continued community service as a member and officer of the Twin Falls Board of Community Guardians. The Guardians attend to the financial and legal affairs of incapacitated seniors. As the Board's legal advisor Dennis Voorhees recently wrote, "Ynes lived a life of great service."
In retirement, Eenie maintained many active friendships. She faithfully attended yearly reunions and monthly luncheons of the TFHS Class of 1937 and of the Twin Falls Bank & Trust alumnae.
Eenie was preceded in death by her husband J.P. Kelly, her parents Santiago and Francisca Alastra, brothers Jim Alastra (Pauline) and Luis Alastra (Essie). Eenie is survived by her son James P. Kelly, Esq. (Carol), Atlanta, GA, daughters Marie T. Kelly, M.D., Ft. Worth, TX, and Irene K. Kelly, Kensington, MD, grandchildren Mary Louise Kelly (Nicholas Boyle, Esq.), Washington, D.C., and C.J. Kelly (Jenn), Atlanta, GA, great grandsons James Cameron Boyle, Alexander Nicholas Boyle and Cache Field Kelly, nephew Donald Alastra (Jenelle), niece Donna Alastra Leopold, niece Valerie Dinkel (Matt), niece Stephanie Whittle (Jerry), and niece Janelle Severson, and friend Peg Alastra.
Eenie's memorial services include a rosary prayer vigil at 7:00 pm, Friday, January 11 th at Parke's Funeral Home, a funeral mass at 11:00 am, Saturday, January 12 th at St. Edward's Catholic Church by Father Joseph Lustig, and internment at Sunset Memorial Park. A reception will follow at St. Edward's Parish Hall.
In lieu of flowers, family suggests memorial contributions be made in Ynes Alastra Kelly's name to the Basque Museum and Cultural Center, 611 West Grove Street, Boise, ID 83702.
(published in Idaho Statesman, Legacy.com on Jan. 10, 2019)