Elwanda Kelly




Elwanda (Acord). Kelly

Elwanda A. Kelly, 86, passed away peacefully on March 29, 2008, from Alzheimer's disease.

Elwanda Grace Acord Kelly "Rusti" was born on Sept. 9, 1921, in Broughton to Lottie (Allen) Acord and Martin Clyde Acord. Her only sibling, Clyde Allen Acord "Gil" died in 1972. In 1957, Rusti married Walter E. Kelly, D.D.S. They shared 27 happy years together before his death in January 1984. They had no children. she is survived by nieces, Carolyn "Bunny" Acord Boyer (Carl), Pamela Acord Murray (Bill); great-nieces and nephews, Mark Murray, Jennifer Boyer Switala (Bill) Sean Allen Boyer (Bounly) and Tammy Boyer Hall (Eddie); great-great-nieces and nephews, Gabrielle Reed, Will Switala, Madison Switala and Draven Boyer. Cousins, friends of many years and friends recently made will also mourn the loss of this special woman.

Mrs. Kelly attended St. Francis College and graduated from St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing in Joliet in 1944. She joined the Army Nurse Corps in March of 1945. Following basic training in Camp McCoy, Wis., she was transferred to Auburn General Hospital McKinney, Texas, then to William Beaumont Hospital, El Paso, Texas. She separated from the service in July 1946 as a Second Lieutenant. For the next three years she worked in California. In 1949 she moved back to Illinois where she worked two years at Wesley Memorial Hospital. She was a private duty nurse and Wesley and Passavant Memorial Hospitals for 13 years. In 1964 she decided a change of work situation was needed and began work at Lakeside Veterans Hospital. In August 1979 she went on disability retirement. Mrs. Kelly continued to serve her community in volunteer work.

As a private duty nurse, she gained recognition for caring for Matthew Milligan, a brick mason who was crushed against the side of an open-hearth furnace by a locomotive. Newpaper clippings described Milligan as having lived as an "Artificial Man" for more than six weeks, machines doing everything his injuries prevented his body from doing. His full recovery was a medical marvel. Elwanda Grace Acord wrote an article, published in the May 1955 issue of R.N./A Journal for Nurses, describing this complex surgical miracle. Other famous patients cared for by Mrs. Kelly were world renowned architect Mies (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe), Paul V. Galvin (Motorola), President Luis Batille Berres of Uruguay -- and most notably, Walter E. Kelly, who loved Rusti's heart as much as her nursing skills.

In 2003, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, Mrs. Kelly chose to leave her beloved home and many close friends in Southern Illinois to spend her remaining days in Arlington, Va., with her nieces and their families.

Funeral services will be at Sloan Funeral Home, 11 a.m. Saturday, April 12, 2008. Interment will follow at Hickory Hill Cemetery. Visitation is 9 a.m. to service time Saturday at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made to Alzheimers's Foundation of America 322 Eighth Ave., 7th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10001.

(Eldorado Daily Journal)