Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

Kelm was longtime community volunteer

 

Joyce Kelm

Former resident Joyce Kelm, a bubbly, 36-year resident who was active in the American Legion, Lynn Canal Community Players, Business and Professional Women's Club and Bills Club, died April 12 in Tarpon Springs, Fla. She was 88.

"She was happy to be alive and to roll up her sleeves and work hard," said Dick Flegel, a former manager of the Haines bank who worked with Kelm there. "She was a happy person. She always seemed to be jovial and positive."

Flegel said Kelm befriended a neighborhood cat that would spend the day in the bank when it was located in a storefront currently occupied by the town's bookstore. "When someone came to Joyce's teller window and the cat was sleeping there, they'd transact business right over the cat."

Joyce Vivian Hamilton was born on July 17, 1925 in Detroit, where her schooling included playing intramural sports and serving on the library and yearbook committees. In 1952, she married William Kelm, a disabled Navy veteran of World War II.

They honeymooned in Fairbanks, where he was working summers, and stayed in Alaska, moving here when he took a job on the Haines-Fairbanks pipeline in 1955.

June Haas said she met Kelm here in the 1950s, when both were acting in shows of the fledgling theater group. "We were the beginning of LCCP, when it just started. I'd brought my (stage) make-up kit from Seattle and that was the only thing we had up here for years."

Bill Kelm also was active in the theater group, Haas said.

In 1968, Joyce Kelm was elected state president of the American Legion Auxiliary. Her husband had served as local service officer and as state commander of the American Legion, the only member of the local post ever to attain that rank.

"Joyce was right there doing the counterpart for the auxiliary," said American Legion member and former Southeast commander Terry Pardee. "She was one of the original grand ladies of the Legion. I have really great memories of her."

The Kelms moved in 1981 to Holiday, Fla. for Bill's medical care and to be close to her family. Joyce became active in the Legion there and in 1988 served as president of the VFW Auxiliary in Holiday. Bill Kelm died in 1994.

Joyce Kelm's survivors include niece Lisa Rostron of Bellingham, Wash. and sister-in-law Diana Kelm of Haines.