Quilting 2

Susan Cynthia (Shaffer) Kelley

July 21, 1940 ~ March 2, 2020 (age 79)


Susan Cynthia Kelley died peacefully March 2, 2020 at her home after a long illness. She was born in Branson, Mo, to Della Betts Shaffer, and Edward Rollins Shaffer, attended Stephens College, married Dale Forrest of Sturgeon, and they had three sons: Scott, Steve, Stewart, and grandchildren, all of whom survive. After being widowed, she married Sterling Kelley, and they lived 13 happy years in their woods hideaway near Hallsville.

You may have known her as "the Gourd Lady". A Master Gardener, she was known nationally for her expertise in growing and shaping thousands of gourds per year, and artistically painting them with the faces  of Santa, or Leprechauns. She was asked to make presentations of the science and art of growing them, and did so in many States around the Country. Her artistic brilliance went further into water color and oil paintings. She also won awards for the creation of very artistic quilts.

Her creations were shown in the very elite top world competition in Paducah.

She may have been the first woman licensed by the Coast Guard to pilot a river boat. To see her back her car out of her garage, one would wonder how that happened. Her love of nature was known to all who knew her, and her happiest moments were sitting in the dirt, talking to the frogs, snakes, and turtles, planting to create a colorful picture of her own design.

A private memorial will be held at a later date.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Susan Cynthia (Shaffer) Kelley, please visit our floral store.


Private Services

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