Wife and mom of Unipressers dies

July 1, 2002 at 6:43 PM
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MILWAUKEE, July 1 (UPI) -- Virginia Kelley Kieckhefer, the wife and mother of two former United Press International correspondents, died Monday. She was 84.

Kieckhefer was a retired nurse and contributor to numerous church and civic organizations.

The daughter of Harry F. Kelley, a Manitowoc attorney and postmaster, and Katherine Barzynski Kelley, Kieckhefer was born Nov. 27, 1917. She was a graduate of the St. Mary of Nazareth School of Nursing in Chicago and worked for many years in the Memphis, Tenn., Medical Center while her husband, Erwin, was editorial page editor of The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. He began his lengthy career with United Press International and still contributes columns to the agency on farming and Canadian affairs. When he retired they returned to Wisconsin. She was an active member of the Marian Club and held numerous offices, including the presidency.

From 1978 to 1997 she was a full-time volunteer for the Great Circus Parade. She handled many of the details of parade organization, especially the organization of the clown corps each year. Her "reward" for this volunteer service was the opportunity to appear in the Great Circus Parades of 1993 to 1997 as The Old Woman In The Shoe, one of the famed Ringling Brothers Fairy Tale wagons always drawn by a pony hitch.

She is survived by her husband, Erwin, of Wauwatosa, and two sons, Robert, director of media and governmental affairs for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois and a former executive with United Press International, and Richard, of the department of religion at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., and five grandchildren.

Mass was scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at St. Bernard Church, Wauwatosa. Visitation will be held for an hour prior to services. Burial will be in Manitowoc.

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