Esther D. Kelly

PORTLAND – Esther D. Kelly, 93, died on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020.

Esther was born on March 17, 1927, in Portland, the daughter of the late Henry and Marion (Redman) Finks. She grew up in Portland and graduated from Portland High School in 1945 and attended Northeastern Business College where she was a member of the XI Chapter of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority. Upon graduation Esther moved to Washington D.C. to work in a pool for several of the alphabet agencies.

Later Esther moved back to Munjoy Hill, where in 1954 she met and married William “Bill” Kelley. They promptly set out to travel, having four children along the way (Shevawn, Bill Jr., Matthew and Bobbie).

For a small, unassuming young woman Esther was quite bold. Embracing the opportunity to travel that her husband’s position as a Merchant Marine offered. The family traveled regularly for many years but always came back to Maine, spending summers on Munjoy Hill and Higgins Beach.

The family finally settled on Munjoy Hill long enough to put the kids through Portland High before retiring to the Rosemont neighborhood. Esther continued to remain active, volunteering to read to kids at the local schools, taking classes, exercising at the USM gym and keeping up her globetrotting. The support she received from her neighbors allowed her to remain independent and in her home until last year.

Probably her favorite thing of all, really, was being a grandmother. Taking care of Zak and Andrew locally or snow-birding with her dog, Higgins, to her daughters’ homes to be a part of Greg, Nick, Jake and Natasha’s lives.

Esther was predeceased by her brothers, John and Donald Finks. She is survived by her daughters, Roberta “Bobbie” Cote and her husband David of Arizona, Shevawn McIntire and her husband Paul of Virginia, sons, Matthew Kelly and his wife Christine Gates of Yarmouth, William Kelly Jr. of Portland; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Visiting hours celebrating Esther’s life will be held on Friday, August 21, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Conroy-Tully Walker Funeral Home, 172 State Street, Portland. A Funeral service will immediately follow in the Funeral Home at 1:30 p.m. followed by burial at Evergreen Cemetery, Portland. Per state mandates, masks will be required. To view Esther’s memorial page, or to share an online condolence, please visit

Memorial contributions may be made to the

Animal Refuge League

P.O. Box 336

Westbrook, ME 04098

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