Joann Coburn Kelso

WESTFIELD – Joann Coburn Kelso, 87, passed away peacefully on the morning of June 6th, 2024, with her two daughters and son beside her. Joann was born in Westfield on August 25th, 1936, to Jessie (Yule) and Joseph K. Coburn. She met her husband Richard (Dick) in High School and were married June 17th, 1956. They shared 61 years of marriage and adventures together while raising their family in the community of Wyben, on the farm with the red barn and beautiful Haflinger horses.

Joann and Dick traveled to Austria multiple times and took many trips to visit their “horse” friends in New York and Ohio usually accompanied by a son or a grandchild. Being fiercely independent – Joann traveled to Egypt, Russia, Italy, Turkey with tour groups and camped the Black Hills with her Red Hat Society friends. She and her sister Judy and brother-in-law Jimmy shared an adventure along the Rhine River.

Joann’s faith through all of life’s ups and downs was unwavering. Ephesians 4:32 – “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ” epitomizes Joann perfectly. When traveling on a Sunday, no matter where in the world she was – she found a place to worship. The denomination or language was not important – it’s where she went to be thankful for all her blessings, practice her faith and ask God to watch over all those she loved. When not traveling, she was a member of the Wyben Union Church attending services every Sunday for over 60 years – always wearing one of her amazing hats and never, ever without a smile on her face.

Joann retired from the Carson Center in Westfield as a mental health counselor and in her retirement stayed busy delivering meals on wheels and caring for (and shopping with) her beloved grandchildren. She was actively engaged with Al-Anon and Nar-A-Non support groups locally and nationally where she met and made lifelong friends who remained so dear to her.

She was on the go well into her 80’s and as her health declined, became less able to travel freely. It’s taken a village and a lot of effort to allow her to remain home through her final days. Her daughter Michelle selflessly took the lead with the day-to-day needs and kept her active and engaged right up to her very last weeks of life. We are grateful to Mercy Adult Day Care, Chanda Care and Beacon Hospice for providing loving care to Joann. We want to recognize her special friends Rachel and Natalia who kept her feeling and looking so beautiful!

Joann was predeceased by her husband Richard and her son Charles Kelso. She is survived by her son Richard L. Kelso, Jr. of Westfield; daughter Anjanette Kelso (Gary) of Sutton, MA; and daughter Michelle Dame (Doug) of Westfield, MA; her grandchildren Kayla, Tanner, Kelsey, Coburn, Jaimin, Samantha, Gabrielle and Amelia and great-grandchildren Maison, Layanna, Atticus, Jayce, Raelynn, Marla, Parker, Asher, Emerson and Scarlet. Joann leaves behind one sister Judith Reed and her husband James of Hyannisport, MA; brother-in-law Donald B. Kelso and his wife Cindy of Dayton Indiana; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

We invite friends and family to gather to celebrate Joann’s life on Thursday, June 13th at 1:00 p.m. at the Wyben Union Church, 678 Montgomery Road, Westfield, MA followed by a graveside service at Middle Farms Cemetery, Russellville Road, Westfield, MA. We encourage guests to wear purple (mom’s FAVORITE color) and share stories of adventures with Joann, how she enjoyed life and changed our worlds. Should you choose to honor her memory with a donation, please consider Chanda’s House (non-profit end-of-life foundation), 723 Main Street, Agawam, MA 01001 or a charity of your choice that embodies Joann’s life of faith and service.

To Top