Our sister, aunt, and best friend, Leta Rae MacKenzie Kelsey, passed away March 28, 2020. Cremation has taken place in Kentucky. A graveside service will be announced at a later date, when it is safe to travel again.
Leta Rae was born in Conrad, MT on August 28, 1940 to Merle Abra and Mary Ella (Voz) MacKenzie. She also had an older brother Gary. The family moved to Great Falls, where she attended the old Paris Gibson Jr. High and then Great Falls High, graduating in 1958. After graduation, she and several friends trained to be telephone operators for Ma Bell. They got the itch to move to San Diego and transferred there. It was there that she met her husband to be. After their marriage they moved to his hometown in Utah. The two divorced and she moved back to Great Falls, where she had her son, Michal Lee Kelsey. After 40 years at Ma Bell, Leta decided to retire. She downsized by selling her house and moving into a condo. She then became the manager of those condo units.
Leta Rae was a good seamstress. She made most of her clothing. She also loved crocheting and quilting many items for friends and family. She enjoyed going to movies followed by dinner afterwards with “the gang.” She could also be found at the Peak’s water aerobics classes, or playing Rummikub, one of her favorites, winning most games no matter who she was up against.
She had many friends, earning the title “our best friend.” Many trips were taken with the “GOG” (Good Old Girls). She visited Seattle, WA, Coeur d’Alene, ID, and Laughlin, NV, with camping trips to Holter Lake and yearly visits to Fairmont Hot Springs to name just a few of the places she would go.
Her life changed quite a bit when she suddenly had a stroke in October of 2019. Following that, she would require numerous trips to the hospital and to the nursing homes that she hated. When she returned home, Gloria, Faith, and Pat attempted to care for her. She was a stubborn woman. She was not always cooperative with her friends or the home health nurses. After much debate, she agreed to go stay with her niece in Kentucky, but only as long as her dog Shasta could come too.
Leta Rae leaves behind her brother, Gary; nephew, Craig (Nancy) Robinson; nieces, Colleen Vaught-Gray, and Cynthia (Michael) Whitaker; special cousin, Gene (Doris) Botzet; and several great-nieces and nephews.
Leta Rae is preceded in death by her parents and son.
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