Patricia Lee (Harms) Newell Kelly, 65, of Sioux City, died Monday, June 11, 2018.
Celebration of life services will be 7 p.m. Tuesday at Country Celebrations Event Center, 5606 Hamilton Blvd. A social hour will be held before at 6 p.m. at the event center. Come in your summer casual wear, as Pat has requested, to pay tribute to the welcoming spirit she embodied. Join us for a relaxed night of joy, kinship, food and drink.
Patty Lee was the second child born to Bill and Joyce Harms, on Aug. 19, 1952, in Sioux City. An energetic child, she tormented her older sister, Gloria, for 12 years before Gloria passed as a result of a battle with cancer. Bill and Joyce lost another child, Charles, shortly after. Knowing their family was still incomplete, they adopted a baby boy, Mark. Pat remained an active child, participating in many sports through her school years. Pat, Mark, Bill and Joyce spent their summers in Okoboji, enjoying skiing, boating and life at the lake.
Pat graduated from Central High School and soon after started her life's work. She married Robert "Bob" Newell, then graduated St Luke's College of Nursing in Sioux City and obtained her RN. Her first nursing job out of school was as a staff RN with Holy Family Hospital in Estherville, Iowa. This would mark the beginning of a 43-year-long career as a dedicated caregiver and respected nurse.
Bob and Pat welcomed their son, Chad, in 1975, while Pat was completing her bachelor's at Morningside College, graduating in 1976. She worked for a short while at Loring Hospital in Sac City, Iowa, before moving their now growing family back to Sioux City, where Pat worked as an occupational nurse taking care of those on the job at IBP. They welcomed their daughter, Tiffany, in 1977. As both kids started school, Pat knew she wanted a regular work schedule, so she found a position as an office RN with Taylor, Burgfechtel and Posey Family Practice.
The office job was close to home and the hours allowed Pat more free time. And Pat was a master at filling free time. The family home on Pawnee Place soon became, among so many other things, a community garden, a social mecca, a sewing shop and a second home to many family and friends. Pat worked every warm day in her terraced garden, blasting classic surf and pop music throughout the neighborhood. In the winters, she sewed everything from simple tears and patches to Halloween costumes, Christmas program outfits, crafts and eventually school dance dresses.
In 1988, Pat took a role as an RN in Behavioral Health at St Luke's Regional Medical Center. She enjoyed working with patients on a more intimate level and continued to work Behavioral Health and related roles for almost 20 years. Pat took a role with St Anthony's in Carroll, Iowa, and Bob and Pat divorced soon after.
Pat came home to Sioux City in 2000 as the nurse manager of the Behavioral Health Unit for St Luke's. Shortly after, she attended her 30th high school reunion to distract her from helping plan Tiffany's wedding. At the reunion, she reunited with an old friend, Rory Kelly. They connected instantly and didn't spend a day apart after that meeting, including Rory pitching in for final wedding details. Rory had three grown children, Meghan, Bridget and Brendan. Everyone quickly figured out that Tiffany, her husband, David Janssen, and Rory's kids all ran in the same social circle, which made for an easy union all around. Rory's son, Brendan, gave Rory and Pat their first grandchild, McKenzie "Mickey." David and Tiffany then gave them a granddaughter, Elliot.
Pat transitioned from her role at St Luke's to an office RN at Dakota Dunes, to the Boys and Girls Home and then as a home health nurse with Mercy Home Care. Coworkers, patients and the casual observer will tell you it was in this role, similar to the roles in Behavioral and Residential Health, interacting on a personal level with her patients, that Pat really shined. From taking in friends of both Chad and Tiffany growing up, to tending all of her patients over the years, Pat never met a soul in need that she didn't help.
Rory and Pat enjoyed life as grandparents and Pat welcomed the opportunity to crochet blankets for the growing family, make baby blankets and Christening outfits for friends, tend to her garden, and sew for and swim with her grandchildren. When Pat was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in January 2017, she took only a moment to let it soak in then attacked her treatment. She spent her summer in the pool and in her garden, taking advantage of the early retirement but hardly slowing down.
Please join us in paying tribute to the energetic and youthful spirit that Patricia Lee Kelly lived each day. She counted herself fortunate to have a say in her final arrangements and is asking everyone to share a warm summer evening of friendship and fun. And above all, let us pay tribute by taking care of one another.
The family requests that memorials in Pat's honor be directed to the American Cancer Society.