Esther D. Kelly, 74, registered nurse

Esther D. Kelly, a registered nurse and former supervisor at the health center at Towson State College (now Towson University), died of complications from a stroke Wednesday at Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville. She was 74.

Born Esther Darlington Riddle in Harrisburg, Pa., she was raised in Hagerstown, where she graduated in 1947 from high school. In 1951, she married Norman Kelly, an architect. Mr. Kelly died in 1987.


After graduating from Union Memorial Hospital's School of Nursing in 1950, she worked as a registered nurse at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. One of the memorable patients she cared for was Gen. Omar N. Bradley, the World War II general, family members said.

Mrs. Kelly supervised the health care center at Towson State from 1967 until retiring in 1988.


Mrs. Kelly, who was known to family and friends as Rusty because of her red hair, lived in Timonium for 48 years until moving into the retirement community several months ago.

She enjoyed backyard cookouts, badminton, making enamelware jewelry and playing bridge. She was also an avid collector of carnival and Depression-era glassware.

"In an era when most women stayed home and only had one car, it was Rusty who was called upon to administer first aid to all the neighbors, treating everything from sprained ankles to the occasional fish bone lodged in a child's throat," said a daughter, Shaune Kelly of Vancouver, Wash.

Mrs. Kelly also volunteered at the Jacksonville and Cockeysville public libraries.

She was a communicant of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Texas, Baltimore County.

Services were held yesterday.

Survivors include two sons, Timothy L. Kelly of Hampton, Va., and Neil C. Kelly of Yardley, Pa.; another daughter, Maureen M. Kelly of Timonium; and five grandchildren.