Kellen, Ann Frances

April 13, 1936 - August 13, 2016

IMG_2924IMG_2934IMG_2928IMG_2914ANN KELLEN
Memories, by Robert Kellen
I was single in 1961 & looking for a wife. No luck at bars (remember the “It’ll Do Club” & “Bamboo Room?”). Family & friends were fruitless. There was a Wednesday night ballroom dance at downtown YMCA, which was nice, but didn’t pan out. Then I discovered the Single Aires, a Sunday school class of young singles at First Methodist Church in downtown Dallas. They had a social every weekend at someone’s apartment & I was at one of these the Timbers Apartment. The room was crowded when suddenly the door opened & in walked Ann. Dressed in tight black slacks, she immediately had commanding presence. The cowed parted to make way for her & she sat down in the center of the room & held court. Lots of energy, personality, the “It” girl of 1962. I asked who she was & was told she was dating someone & not available.
She started coming to the Sunday school class &, thinking she might now be available, I introduced myself. I called her for a date & she said “No”. a week later I called again & she said “No, I have to wash my hair” (a flimsy excuse). I had a rule: Three strikes & I’m out. I didn’t want to make that third call, so I asked my friend Don to ask her for a date. He called & she said “Yes” to Don.
We arranged a double date, spreading our blankets on the grass on the wooded side of Flagpole Hill. The city had stacked a big pile of dead tree limbs there, so we built a big bonfire, roasted wieners & had a good time. The next morning I was sitting at the traffic signal at Northwest Highway & Buckner. Looking up to Flagpole Hill, scene of last night’s wanton frivolity, I saw a fire truck still pouring water on a pile of smoldering dead tree limbs. What is the Statue of Limitations on arson?
Then I made that third call & she said “Yes”. When she invited me to dinner at her apartment, made homemade ice cream in her Ice cream freezer & barbecued chicken with her secret recipe sauce, I saw she could also cook. That did it. She says I married her for her ice cream freezer & she married me for my fireplace. She was 26.
Driving to New Orleans on our honeymoon, we listened to radio station WWL New Orleans broadcasting evacuating routes out of New Orleans. It was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cars were streaming out & there we were, driving in. The only bombs that went off were ours & it has lasted 53 years.
Ann was born in Wheaton, Illinois, to George & Frances McCausland. George continued with a little 1920’s jazz band formed in Beloit University, Art Braun’s Novelty Boys (what a name), playing banjo. Around 1928 he felt the need to get a real job & became a travelling salesman for a magazine, selling advertising space. I have his tax returns back to 1929 & he was very success full making $6,000 in 1930 during the Depression. In 1936 he was making $25,000. In 1939 they bought a large 1912 home in Wheaton, had a live-in maid, took month long vacations, helped found the local county club & life was good. Ann came along in 1936.
When Ann was around 5 years old she found her two brothers smoking cigarettes behind the garage. She said “I’m going to tell mom”. They said “Don’t, & we’ll give you a cigarette”. They did. She took a couple of puff & went to tell mom. A darling little sister.
Following in her father’s musical footsteps, she played tenor sax in the Wheaton High School band & had a chest full of band medals. She was also in a small group that played for after school parties. They called her “sexless Ann & her sexy sax, it has more curves then she has”.
In 1952 she went off to Illinois Wesleyan, where she was a Kappa Kappa Gamma. Unfortunately, while dad had a fine income, he never learned to save & invest. He was laid off, but got a pension, then after two years, they cut it off. In 1954, seeing her parents could no longer afford her tuition, she left school & looked for a job. She wanted to be in retail as a clothing designer or buyer, but Chicago stores wanted a college degree & all she was offered was a sales clerk behind the counter. She wrote to Sanger Bros. in Dallas & they said “Come on Down”. She sold her saxophone for $250 & rode a train to Dallas, arriving in a snowstorm. Sangers hired her & put her into management training. She stayed at the YMCA. It took a lot of courage to do that.
She quickly advanced at Sanger Bros. (later Sanger Harris) & became department supervisor at their Big Town Store. Later she was supervisor for the men’s department at the downtown store. At Christmas time she managed around 100 people.
Married to Robert Kellen in October, 1962, they both drove 1960 Volkswagen bugs. Hers was rust red, his was gray green. His & hers bugs. It was her first car & she cried when we got rid of it ten years later.
Advancing through the years, she became a mother in 1965 (Paul), then a grandmother (Drake & Willow). Paul married an English Lassie, Paula Darbyshire, so it’s half way around the world to see mother. She also has a step-daughter, Sandra, married to DeWayne White. They live in Flower Mound. Ann served as a Cub Scout Leader, garden guide at the Arboretum, & did pet theraphy work at Baylor Rehab with Duchess II, her Beagle. Duchess II was also a dog model for various doggie catalogs & did a short time-filler on KERA TV. She loved three Beagles, Duchess I, II, III, & was a charted member of the Eager Beagle Club.
Ann was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 1984 & lived with Chemo treatments twelve years. She was to get her 30 year AA chip this December. Friday afternoon, August 12, she had chest pains & classic heart attack symptoms. In Baylor ER, she died the next day at 6:44 PM Saturday, August 13. Survided by husband Robert, son Paul & wife Paula, grandchildren Drake & Willow, step-daughter Sandra & husband DeWayne, brother Richard & wife Sandy, McCausland nieces Martha & Ruthie, nephews George, Ralph & Roger, & their families.
We shall meet, but we shall miss her, there will be one vacant chair; we shall linger to caress her, when we breathe our evening prayer. When a year ago we gathered, joy was in her bright blue eyes, but golden cord is severed and our hopes in ruin lie. True, they tell us wreaths of glory, evermore will deck her brow, but this sooths the anguish only, sweeping o’er our heartsrings now. Sleep today O ealy fallen, in thy green and narrow bed, dirges from the pine and cypress, mingle with the tears we shed. From “The Vacant Chair”, a Civil War song.

13 replies on “Kellen, Ann Frances”

Tim Halwas says:

We love Ann. She was an incredible neighbor, great cook and was so very sweet to our kids. Your story of meeting made me cry and laugh. She was greatly loved by all the lives she touched.

James Dawson says:

What a nice tribute to a special lady. Barb and I have fond memories of our visits and of Robert and Ann, who were so great with Uncle George and Aunt Stella.

Roger & Sue McCausland says:

Aunt Ann was very special to me and our family. Closer in the past years, we enjoyed our phone conversations, sharing recipes, pecans & smoked salmon. Also laughed & cried while reading uncle Robert’s sharing of family history. She so wanted to come to Washington for a visit. Loved life, family & friends & fought hard to stay with us. She will be missed! May God Bless the family with peace & comfort.

Patrick Beal says:

So sad, she was such a joy. We’ll miss her gardening and grandkid stories at the North Texas Myeloma Sopport group. Prayers for you, Bob, and the others whose lives were touched by Ann!

Diane Alve says:

I remember Ann from our Myeloma support Group and then seeing her again in the waiting room at Baylor. Her energy was inspiring. She will be missed.

Suzanne Kay says:

I knew Ann through the MM support group ay Baylor. Her energy always amazed me. She was generous of spirit and with her home grown veggies! She will be greatly missed.

Sandy White says:

Ann was an amazing person. Her smile and persistent positive attitude were infectious. We were blessed to have her in our lives and she will be missed, but she will live in the memories we share and hold dear. We had a double rainbow above our house this evening and I truly believe it was sent from her. 🙂

Barbara Maness says:

Robert, I want to express my deepest sympathy to you and your family. What a wonderful story you wrote to celebrate your life with Ann. I remember your and Ann’s visit to Davenport, Iowa for the Bix Jazz festival when we were able to spend some time together. Somewhat later I visited your home, and Ann made a delicious lunch for me. Was my visit in 2003, maybe? I have a calendar, but I haven’t gone back to search out the dates. Looking back further, I remember my Aunt Ope and Uncle Harry, Slim and Aunt Irma gathering at the Park Lake house in Waco talking about your successful life and family in Dallas. You and Ann were loved and admired by all. Thinking of you with love.

Mike lewis says:


So sorry for your loss. Your obituary for Ann was a joy to read. I could hear your voice in your words. Will be praying to give you strength during this sad time.

Peter and Janet says:

We only met you once Anne at Paul and Paula’s Wedding but you left us with lasting memories. Our condolences to Robert and family.

Carolynne LeNeveu says:

Bill and I along with Whitney and Crystal LOVED Ann! She was such a great part of my kids growing up & our neighborhood lives. Ann was one of Whitney’s birthday “treasure hunt” stops when she turned 18! She was precious to us & will be SO, SO missed! Your story of her was so beautiful & made me cry. We love you, Robert – you are in our prayers.

Madron Hartley says:

Every time I see a Beagle, I think of Ann’s enthusiasm for visiting and cheering people with her therapy dog. She loved her family and had so much fun with her grandchildren. She had enthusiasm for life and I am blessed to have enjoyed her through the North Texas Myeloma Support Group. She is very missed.

Robert Kellen says:

Please know that I did proof-read the obit. Unfortunately, daughter Sandra sent off the original uncorrected copy. I had Ann staying at the YMCA & said it took courage to do that (should have been the YWCA). And so many misspellings. Oh, well.

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