Joan Morton Kelly

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Joan Morton Kelly, 91
CAPE ELIZABETH -- Joan Morton Kelly, of Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough, and a leading Maine philanthropist died unexpectedly on Dec. 5, 2012, at her home in Cape Elizabeth.
She was born in Akron, Ohio on April 5, 1921, the only child of Harold A. Morton and Mildred Duncan Morton.
She graduated from Wellesley College in 1942 and did graduate work at the University of Michigan receiving a Ph.D. in Zoology. She was instrumental in the creation of the Children's Zoo at the San Diego Zoo in California. She and her husband, Arthur L. Kelly, lived in Lynnfield, Mass., for many years.
She and her family were deeply involved in the Higgins Beach community in Scarborough where they were long time summer residents. They owned the Silver Sands Hotel before it was destroyed by a winter storm and developed both cottages and year round homes. She was a generous supporter of the Scarborough Public Library.
After the death of her father and her husband, she and her mother lived in Cape Elizabeth but continued to summer at Higgins Beach. She was an early environmentalist and worked to protect and improve Higgins Beach. She was an admirer of Rachel Carson.
She became deeply involved in the Greater Portland and Maine communities after becoming a full time Maine resident. She served on many non-profit boards including the Portland Museum of Art, the Maine Maritime Academy, the Maine College of Art and the Children's Museum of Maine among others. She and her mother established the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust in 1988 to perpetuate their charitable endeavors which has assisted innumerable charitable organizations throughout Maine. She served as President of the Trust until her death, and it will continue into the future.
She was a person of great generosity who prided herself on her anonymity and strove to maintain her privacy.
Special thanks are given to the late Robert McGeachey and his widow, Colleen McGeachey, and their son, Jason McGeachey, for their support and care over the years which enabled her to maintain her independence.
She was predeceased by her parents; and her husband. She is survived by several cousins.
A memorial service will be held at Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Rd., South Portland, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Interment will be private at Rose Hill Cemetery, Akron, Ohio.
Online condolences may be made at
In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to:
Portland Museum of Art
Seven Congress Square
Portland, Maine 04101
or Gulf of Maine Research Institute
350 Commercial St.
Portland, Maine 04101
Joan Morton Kelly

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Funeral Home
South Portland, ME 04106-3802
(207) 799-4472
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Dec. 11, 2012
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