Zabor Funeral Home Inc.
5680 Pearl Road Parma, OH 44129,
between Snow & Ridge Road


Ann C. KELBLEY (nee Ferner).  Age 88.  Beloved wife of the late Thomas W.  Loving mother of Thomas J., Mary K. Gierhart (Greg), Bob (Sue), Beth Shannon, Patti Himmel, and Joe.  Dearest grandmother of Shane Himmel, Maggie and Matthew Gierhart, Ramsay and Rylan Shanon, Jason (April) and Joseph Fetterman (Kanyarat), and Eric Kelbley.  Dear great grandmother of Haley, Jason, Joseph A., Jacob E. and Jessica Fetterman, Austin G. Kelbley, and Annabeth Beard.

MEMORIAL MASS SATURDAY 1/11 AT 10AM PRECEDED BY VISITATION AT 9:30AM ALL AT ST. BRIDGET OF KILDARE PARISH 5620 HAUSERMAN RD. PARMA, OH 44130. Interment at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Bridget. To offer condolences visit

Ann Cecile (Ferner) Kelbley was born in Tiffin, Ohio, on June 4, 1931.  She was the only child of Carl Ferner and Imogene (Lynch) Ferner.  Her father died when Mom was just 14 years of age. She often talked about how tall her father was and how she had to take two to three steps for his one step as he walked her to school.  Mom also talked about what a good cook her mother was, her dog, Trixie, and watching the men work at the slaughter house near their home on Hedges Street.  Growing up during the depression, Mom learned to be frugal, often reusing Tin Foil, baggies, and scraps of material.  Mom often sewed her daughters’ outfits, making two beautiful jackets from faux fur with a shiny red lining.

As a youngster, Mom attended St. Joseph School and Calvert High School.  She was involved in the Chemistry Club and the school yearbook.  She was especially close to her cousins, Tim, Elaine, Jane, and Mary Taylor, and Bob and Bill Lynch.

After graduating from high school in 1949, Mom worked as a secretary at Control Data.  She enjoyed attending Jack and Jill Camp with her friends and canoeing, horse-back riding, and playing volleyball.

Mom met Thomas Walter Kelbley on a blind date.  Dad loved poetry and wrote Mom some beautiful love poems.  They were married at St. Joseph Church in Tiffin and had their reception at Shawhan Hotel in Tiffin on June 11, 1955.  Mom was tall and slender and looked elegant in her wedding gown.  (Patti ended up wearing Mom’s gown for her own wedding.)  The newlyweds moved to Knollwood Apartments in Parma Ohio, as Dad was hired on as a middle school teacher.   Mom and Dad made many close friends through the Parma City Schools and enjoyed playing bridge and having costume/theme parties.  Especially close were the Sahls, Millers, and D’Ettorres. As the family grew, they moved to Greenheath Drive and then Big Creek Parkway.  Each house became a home and was near the pool, library, and metroparks system, allowing the kids to enjoy Mother Nature and lots of recreational activities.  A sand box, tire swing, basketball court, and treehouse were built in the backyard.  A baseball diamond was also worn into the backyard on Greenheath with the back window being broken at least once.  Mom never really lost her cool but living with six children was probably very demanding.

Mom raised six children, Tom, Mary, Bob, Beth, Patti, and Joe.  She was an excellent cook and the ultimate homemaker.  The family ate together at the kitchen table every night.  Some of her specialties included chop suey, spaghetti, meatloaf, pineapple upside down cake, pies, Friday hamburger nights, and Sunday brunch after Church with eggs, bacon, and toast.  Patti says she enjoys entertaining and learned so much from Mom about cooking and decorating.  Patti makes many of Mom’s special dishes to this day. Mom also taught her children to be responsible, loving, and caring people. Each week the kids had to complete their dreaded chore lists.  The family attended Church every Sunday and often kneeled by the couch to pray before bed.  Mom’s Catholic faith was very important to her and she often attended Mass at St. Bridget’s Church during the week.

While raising her family, Mom enjoyed playing bridge with her friends at the YWCA and then at the Parma and Strongsville Senior Centers.  She eventually earned some professional bridge points for her play.  Mom also enjoyed gardening (flowers,) doing aerobics, reading books, quilting, sewing, and needlepoint.  She coached her daughter’s middle school volleyball teams with Mary Jane Ptacek.  She even allowed the kids to have a menagerie of pets that included dogs, cats, parakeets, hamsters, a guinea pig, fish, tadpoles/frogs, pet mice, chameleons, and even an iguana.  Several cats had kitties in the shed out back.  Mom had a special place in her heart for Heidi the beagle and Rusty the mutt.

Mom attended all of her kids’ sporting events, choir shows, and theater productions. She volunteered to be in charge of Incarnate Word Academy’s sports awards and ordered the trophies, ribbons, and other awards.  Mom also made sure the family experienced Kiddie Land Amusement Park on a regular basis, camping at Chippewa Lake, fishing at Lake Erie, a vacation in Tennessee, and sailing at Hinkley Lake on our little styrofoam sailboat, Mrs. Tippi.   Mom’s independent nature was evident when she took the boat out alone on Chippewa Lake and had to hitch-hike back with a speed boat due to the current.  It was hilarious watching her coming back to the dock holding on to a rope from the speedboat.  Another funny memory is when she attended a court case with her daughter Mary and friend Kathy for a college class and got shushed by the judge for talking to a man sitting next to her.

As the children grew up, Mom went to work at Amac Enterprises in the quality control department.  She tested the heat treatment on nuts, bolts, and screws.  Mom’s kindness was again demonstrated when she took a class to learn sign language so that she could communicate with a co-worker that was deaf.  She also “adopted” a young man at work that did not have a stable home life.  In addition, Mom always welcomed her childrens’ friends into her home with a smile and offer to eat and stay over.

Mom and Dad enjoyed travelling and were able to go on many trips once the kids were older.  They had many adventures visiting Joe in Africa while he was in the Peace Corps and Beth and her family in Flagstaff.  They also toured Australia, the Panama Canal, Italy, Germany, and Ireland. They both really enjoyed the sea lions, tortoises, and birds in the Galapagos. While in Africa Mom got a new nickname from one of her guides due to her height.  It was “Mama Twigga” which means Mama Giraffe.  From then on the giraffe was mom’s favorite animal!

Mom is the grandmother of eight (Shane, Maggie, Matthew, Ramsay, Rylan, Jay, Joey, and Eric) and has seven great-grandchildren.  She enjoyed family get-togethers and playing Triploi or Charades  after dinner.  If she was winning at cards she often said, “The good girl is winning.”  We just had to laugh.

Dad died in May of 2005 and Mom moved into her apartment on Pearl Road in Parma Hts.  She loved to sit on her fourth floor porch and watch the people in the park and at the tennis courts below.  Mom continued to read, attend Church, and play bridge with her friends.  Trips with her girlfriends were taken to Lakeside, Vegas, Windsor, and other casinos to play bridge and play the slots.  Mom enjoyed getting together for birthdays and holidays with the family.

Mom fell, hurt her knee and got scraped up in November of 2017. She stayed in a rehab center for a few days and healed up enough to return to her apartment.  Her fall at the end of June of 2019 was much more devastating.  She broke her ankle in several places and never fully recovered.  Mom never regained her ability to walk and seemed to be having small strokes.  However, her positive spirit never dwindled.  She ended up at Pleasant Lake Villa nursing home.  The staff there said that Mom never complained and always had a smile on her face when they were taking care of her.  Mom lived by the Al-Anon mantra of “one day at a time.”  I remember her saying that you can always handle a difficult situation for one day and so on and so on.  Other sayings were “a penny saved is a penny earned” and “a place for everything, and everything in its place.”  Joe remembers Mom’s advice during school.  She said, “Answer all of the questions, even if you have to guess.  If you leave it blank for sure it is wrong.  But if you guess, you might guess correctly.”  Her advice is still helpful today.

Mom passed away on December 17, 2019, at 1:20 am due to respiratory distress from infiltrate pneumonia.  She was 88 years young.  Mom’s spirit lives on in her children and her children’s children.  A celebration of her life will begin with a funeral Mass at St. Bridget of Kildare Church on Saturday, January 11, 2020, at 10:00 am.  All are invited to a luncheon following the Mass at Zabor Funeral Home.  All are also welcome at the burial of our Mom and Dad at noon on Sunday, January 12, 2020, at St. Patrick Cemetery near Bascom, Ohio.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, please consider making a donation to St. Bridget of Kildare Church.  Thank you.


Messages of Condolence

  1. I loved reading this brief history of your Mom’s life. Thank you for sharing! So very sorry for the loss you’re experiencing.

  2. What a tribute to your mom
    She definitely knew she was loved. It must be wonderful to die knowing u will b missed. So many have no one to miss them

  3. Were so sorry for the passing of your Mother she was a very kind and caring Mother and will be sadly missed. She was a kind person to all.
    Jack and Nancy Gierhart

  4. I am so sorry to hear about my cousin Ann’s death. We stayed in touch for many years, but lost touch some years ago. I did try to get in touch with her, but only had her phone number, which I tried many times with no answer. I am so saddened about her death. Nancy Ferner

  5. My heart felt sympathy goes to family of my cousin Ann Kelbley. Although there was an age gap between Ann and myself, I have memories visiting with Ann and Aunt Imogene while Ann lived in Tiffin. Once again my sympathy goes to my relatives.

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