Nov. 24, 1931 — Dec. 12, 2017
Mary Jean Kettelkamp passed away Dec. 12, 2017, in Astoria, Oregon, surrounded by her three daughters. Mary was born Nov. 24, 1931, in Colfax, Washington, to James Oscar Hubbard and Faith Fassett Hubbard. She was always proud that she grew up in “Palouse Country” and Pullman, Washington. She subscribed to the local newspaper, The Pullman Herald, for many years to keep up with the local happenings in her beloved hometown.
After graduating from Pullman High School in 1949, Mary enrolled at Washington State University. While at Washington State, she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority. Mary graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy in the class of 1953, and was a lifelong Cougar fan.
Ready to leave Pullman and stretch her wings, Mary moved to Portland, Oregon, and started a job as a pharmacist at Emanuel Hospital. It was at Emanuel she met a handsome and kind young doctor named Richard (Dick) Kettelkamp.
After Dick finished his intern year, he returned to Iowa to practice medicine with his father. Letters traveled back and forth between Mary and Dick before he proposed to her. They were married on June 7, 1958, in Portland. Their next stop was Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, while Dick was attending Officer Training School. Then it was off to Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.
The biggest blessing when they lived at Whiteman Air Force Base was the arrival of the first of their three daughters, Nancy Sue. It was still during the time that expectant fathers weren’t allowed in the delivery room, so to pass the time Dick was in the adjoining delivery room delivering another baby.
While in Missouri, Mary was involved in Whiteman’s Officers’ Wives’ Club and the local Methodist church. Dick’s hometown of Monona, Iowa, was their next stop, where they lived for a year before making their final move to Astoria, Oregon, which would be her home for the next 56 years. Mary and Dick’s next two daughters, Kathryn Elayne and Ann Marie, were born soon after.
Mary became very involved her new community, as she chose to stay home to raise their three girls. Over the years she was a Sunday school teacher, a 4-H leader, a Brownie and Girl Scout leader, hosted exchange students, served as a room mother in the classroom, and was like a second mom to many of her girls’ friends. Her home was always open to these friends, and many of them continued to stop by to see Mary and Dick as adults when they’d return to Astoria for visits.
Mary also belonged to American Association of University Women and PEO, where she helped raise funds for college scholarships for young women. She was also a member of the Lower Columbia Danish Society and the Methodist Church.
Mary’s hobbies included reading, genealogy, walking, listening to classical music and spending time with her many friends and family. Mary was known as a kind and thoughtful woman who was always willing to help others.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and her older sister, Hope Elayne Briggs.
She is survived by her three daughters, Nancy (Mike) Kerlee of Chandler, Arizona, Kathryn (Jeff) Carlson of Astoria, Oregon, and Ann (Tom) Conway of Lemont, Illinois; her brother, Jack (Becky) Hubbard of Clarkston, Washington; and her six beloved granddaughters, Sydney and Emily Carlson, Jessica Kerlee, and Hope, Evie and Lucy Conway. She also leaves behind numerous nieces, nephews and dear friends.
Never wanting to be the center of attention, the always humble Mary requested that there be no memorial service, so a private family interment will be held later.
The family wants to thank the staff at Clatsop Retirement Center for their excellent care over the last few years, as well as the staff at Columbia Memorial Hospital for their exceptional care during her final days.
Memorial gifts can be made to Bethany Lutheran Church, 451 34th St., Astoria, OR 97103; First United Methodist Church, 1076 Franklin Ave., Astoria, OR 97103; or Clatsop Retirement Village, 947 Olney Ave., Astoria, OR 97103.