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In Memoriam: Betty Kelle-Orr (Dec. 6, 1924 – July 30, 2023)

Betty Ann (Kerry) Kelle-Orr, 98, died July 30, 2023 in Stayton.

Betty was born to Walter Kerry and Catherine Rynning-Kerry on Dec. 6, 1924 in Portland. The family lived in Kerry, Ore., before moving to Clatskanie, where her sister Patricia was born in 1928.  

When Betty was eight years old, her parents separated. Catherine met and married Tex Brejcha, from Sellwood. They moved to Waller, Texas, where her youngest sister Caroline was born in 1934. They moved to Los Angeles, Calif.,  and then to Nehalem. 

Catherine and Tex divorced, and Catherine married Hollis Turnidge in 1939, and the family lived in Gates until Betty’s graduation from Gates High School in 1942.

Betty married Louis Robert (Bob) Kelle on Jan. 25, 1943, and moved to Mill City. Bob joined the Navy in November 1943.

Once back in Oregon, Bob and Betty had a son, Louis, in 1946, and a daughter, Kathleen, in 1949. The family moved back to Gates in 1953. Bob and Betty divorced in 1967.

Betty married Newt Orr in 1979. 

Betty owned several businesses in Gates, a second hand shop called The This-n-That shop, as well as Granny’s Ceramics. She was also a long-time mayor of Gates, and ran the post office with her daughter for about ten years. 

Betty enjoyed all things crafty, such as sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, ceramics, and beadwork. After Newt’s death in 1991, she spent many years traveling and staying the winter in Yuma, Ariz. She met many great friends during her travels. 

In 1998, Betty reunited with Bob and they were together until his death on July 13, 2019. They lived together on Green Mountain Road until moving to an assisted living community in Stayton in 2017.

Betty is survived by her son, Louis Kelle (Nancy); daughter, Kathy Kelle-Meader (Skip); five grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren (with a fourth due in August.) 

Per Betty’s wishes, there is no funeral services. Donations to Serenity Hospice of Salem.

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