On March 27, 2022, Virginia Marie (Hayes) Kellner passed away peacefully at her home in Hampden Massachusetts surrounded by her kids. She was born in Cambridge Massachusetts on September 12, 1922 to Howard and Evangeline (Dixon) Hayes. She grew up in Saugus Massachusetts and in 1935 met Joe Kellner who she married in 1945. Ginny and Joe were happily married until his death in 1999. Together they raised seven children J. Steven (Anne), Dianne Kidd (Ron), Nancy Ayers (Dick), Chris (Pat), Dan (Nancy), and her twins Paul (Barbara) and Jim (Gail). She was the beloved “Nana” to fifty grand and great grandchildren. In addition to her immediate descendants, she leaves behind her cousin Dilla Battista, nephews, nieces, and many who loved her for her humility and kindness.
Part of the Greatest Generation, Virginia was proud to serve her country during the Second World War as a member of the United States Coast Guard’s SPARS. She remained active in Veterans groups for the rest of her life and on February 14, 2022, the US Coast Guard Academy named her “Honoree of the Day”.
She was a long-time communicant of St. Mary’s in Hampden where she served as Eucharistic Minister and Sacristan for many years. She left detailed instructions for future Sacristans in “Ginny’s book” which they use to this day. St Mary’s has informed the family that the Sacristy itself will be dedicated to her memory.
The theme of service extended beyond her family, country, and church to a lifetime of volunteerism which included holding babies at Brightside, helping with activities at Mary Lyon Nursing Home, showing guests around Thornton Burgess’ home at Laughing Brook and archiving news about Hampden for the Hampden Historical Society. She believed that “Kellners pay their way” and sought to give back at every opportunity.
In addition to her parents and husband, she was pre-deceased by her brother Howard Hayes Jr., brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, cousins, and many dear friends.
The family would like to thank Lynn and other caregivers, including Hospice who have supported her in the recent past and Deacon Leo Coughlin and Fr. Mark Stelzer from St. Mary’s whose spiritual support, love and friendship has been invaluable.
Calling hours will be at Byron Keenan Funeral Home & Cremation Tribute Center, 1858 Allen Street, Springfield on Thursday March 31st from 4 to 7 PM. A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, April 1st at 11:00 AM meeting directly at St. Mary’s Church, 27 Somers Road, Hampden. Rites of committal will conclude at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Hampden. Memorial contributions may be directed to St. Mary’s Church, 27 Somers Road Hampden, MA 01036, or St Jude’s Children’s Hospital. For more information, please visit us at www.byronkeenan.com
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St. Mary's Church Building Fund
27 Somers Road, Hampden MA 01036
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105