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Mary Elizabeth Kelley

Bryant, AR, 1931 - 2019

Mary Elizabeth Lawrence Kersten Kelley, age 87, of Bryant, took her place in Heaven on Sept. 22, 2019. She was born on November 29, 1931 to Odus & Bayda Lawrence at Crossett Lumber Camp.
She was a recent resident of Benton/Bryant and Little Rock Area. Prior to that she lived in the Bellaire community of south Arkansas. In her early adult life she raised her family in Hamburg, Arkansas.
She was homemaker and worked in county government. In her early forties, she returned to college graduating as the Valedictorian of her class. After graduating, she began teaching in Wilmot. Mary Beth later moved to Little Rock and worked for Social Security Administration as a Disabilities Determiner.
Mary Beth was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Benton. She had a passion for the bible and led countless bible studies. She loved nature, gardening, reading, and traveling. Mary Beth had a green thumb and could make anything grow. She was an avid angler and enjoyed being on the water even if the fish weren't biting. With a quick wit and caring attitude, she made friends everywhere she went.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brother Joseph Lawrence, her first husband of 40 years, Will Fred Kersten, second husband Ray Kelley, son-in-law, Ken Ruffin, and granddaughter, Brandi Kersten. Mary Beth is survived by two sons, Bill Kersten (Genie) and Tod Kersten (Silvie), a daughter, Jan Hood (Mike), two stepdaughters, Ann Ruffin and Tena Dick (Dan), two brothers, Dr. Robert Lawrence (Dian) and Carlton Lawrence (Mary). She is also survived by five grandchildren, Nick Ruffin (Kaylynn), Lizzie Jundt (Shaun), Philip Kersten, Annie Kersten and Reese Bolin, three great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held Friday at 1 p.m. at Sardis Baptist Church, 859 Ashley Rd 105, Montrose, Ark. Rev. Jerry Selby officiating. Private burial afterward at the Trafalgar cemetery. Services provided through Ashby Funeral Home.
We would like to thank all of the caring staff of The Manor Senior Living in Benton. She loved you all like family.
Memorials can be made to Arkansas Children's Hospital, Saline Memorial Hospice, and Trafalgar Cemetery Fund, c/o Mr. Ben Lawrence, 859 Ashley 105, Montrose, Ark. 71658. On-line guestbook at

Published September 25, 2019

Ashby Funeral Home
108 West Narroway, Benton, AR
Phone: 501-778-2544