Obituary: Sue Ellen Kelly June 3, 1944 – July 8, 2023

Canon Rev. Colin P. Kelly III is devastated to announce the passing of his beloved wife and best friend, Sue Ellen, on July 8, 2023, from lung cancer. Sue Ellen passed peacefully onto glory at home, surrounded in love by Father Kelly and son Todd Irving of Albuquerque. Sue Ellen was preceded in death by her son Scott Irving in 2013.

Born June 3, 1944, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Marie and Fremont “Hutch” Hutchens, Sue Ellen graduated from Arizona State University in languages. She and Colin met at a service at which Colin was preaching at West Point Academy, when he was an assistant cadet chaplain. They were married for 38 years.

Sue Ellen and Colin were the original A Team. He may have given the great homilies, but she, with her love and gift of music, was the backbone in letting the Holy Spirit guide her as to the music and the direction of those services. She was the spark plug for many to whom she witnessed her faith, encouraging them through example and love to find Christ in their own hearts; to the many who would never have been caught in a church, she showed them acceptance right where they were. When her own son Scott came to church wearing torn jeans and a ragged T-shirt, it showed others that God isn’t about suits and formality but about our just coming to Him as we are. She inspired many to join the church and was strong in her outreach support of the community, as well. For example, during the Cerro Grande Fire of 2000, she assisted Colin at two funerals and a wedding and led the TOTH’s support of the community with donations, gifts, and Christian spiritual support. At her core were the love of Jesus, renewal, and evangelism.

Colin was the rector of Trinity on the Hill (TOTH) Episcopal church from 1985 to 2013. Sue Ellen led and sang with The Gathering, an original, unique Christian contemporary music group, for 10 years. She then created Generations, another contemporary group, which she led for 14 years, that combined a rock band with worship in unique styles. Sue Ellen and Colin helped in leading Cursillo, a Christian renewal movement, both in Colorado Springs at the Air Force Academy and here in Northern New Mexico for over 10 years. She was also the youth group leader at TOTH for many years.

Sue Ellen led interfaith healing services for several years, and she herself had a miraculous healing of a brain tumor. But Colin and family were always her first love; then came her love of music and of horses, as well as cats and doggies. She and Colin would saddle up once a week and ride into the canyons for a picnic lunch or just to disappear with their faithful companions. Look inside their home, which was a haven for kids, kids, and more kids, and it is full of prayer and faith banners and horse memorabilia (“May the horse be with you.”).

Her service will be held Saturday, July 15, 2023, at Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church, 3900 Trinity Dr., Los Alamos, at 10:30 am. Rev. Corinne Hodges will be presiding. Following the service, guests are invited to join the family in the church’s Kelly Hall for a reception.

The family wishes to thank all the parish of TOTH and all those who have supported and kept the family in prayer during this difficult time.