Virginia Kelcec

Obituary of Virginia S. Kelcec

Virginia ("Ginny") Kelcec, six days shy of her 97th birthday, passed from this life in her home, at peace, May 11, 2021. A lifetime resident of New Jersey, born in Jersey City in 1924, she spent her childhood in Long Branch and adult, family life in West Long Branch and finally in Morris Township since 1959. She was a devoted, passionate, traditional schoolteacher, first teaching music for a few years and then fourth grade for the balance of her career, mostly at the Washington Avenue School in Chatham Borough (20 years). Those were the times when one teacher had the whole class for the entire day and covered all subjects alone. She was a role model and mentor to her students and other teachers, always helpful, supportive and happy trying to instill in young minds the benefit of wanting to learn and the benefit of knowledge. A number of her students have kept in touch with her for many years to include today. On family trips during the school summer recess she, husband George and son Tom, would travel around the country by car taking pictures of national parks and historical places which she would then show her students. Those were pre-computer days, of course, and without National Geographic or Life Magazine one did not know of other places. By all accounts, the students loved the personal touch when studying our country and foreign locales. Her last big trip was a month long, post-retirement cruise in 2007 on Cunard’s Queen Mary II from New York to Rome and return with her son. Virginia attended the New Jersey School for Women (now Douglass College) of Rutgers University from 1941 through graduation in 1945, the entire period of WWII. She and her classmates very often walked to the Johnson and Johnson factory, also in New Brunswick, to make bandages for the war effort. She graduated with a BA, majoring in Music Education, in 1945, with the piano her favorite instrument (having started lessons age 6). She played it very competently and expressively throughout her life ranging from the classical composers (favorite: Beethoven) to Broadway show tunes and seasonal and patriotic favorites a number of which she could play from memory. She always loved dogs and had a number of them over her life. Her love of dogs, plus an almost lifelong relationship with a blind-from-birth student of Douglass who used a guide dog led to Ginny being a volunteer at the Seeing Eye in Morristown for a number of years. Virginia’s other focus was her faith and participation in the Methodist Church wherever she lived. At Morristown she was involved in the Asbury choir (3rd-6th grade) as an accompanist and helped stage15 musicals. She enjoyed playing the piano and organ and on special occasions turned pages for others playing complicated music (more challenging than you might think). Of course, her primary focus was her family. She was the best mom and wife in the world. How she did it all was amazing. She will be deeply missed by many people around the world. She touched many lives in a positive and happy way and helped steer young people in the right direction. She enjoyed life and the miracle of music and travel. We are all the better for having her with us for 97 short years. Her husband, George, predeceased Virginia in 2013. She is survived by her son, Tom, also of Morris Township, and her memory in the hearts of many people who had the privilege and honor to have known, worked or traveled with or learned from her on the magical journey of life. Participation in the funeral arrangements is by invitation only. There will be a celebration of life memorial service at a future time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Virginia’s memory to the Seeing Eye in Morristown.
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