In Memory of




Obituary for Paula Ward (Kelley)

Paula Kelley Ward of Roanoke, Virginia, passed away on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

She was born on March 3, 1942, to Marguerete Heckman Kelley and Ausborne Paul Kelly. She attended Our Lady of Nazareth School, Catholic High, Woodrow Wilson Junior High and Jefferson High School in Roanoke, Virginia.

During the summer, she vacationed at Midland Beach, where she first met her future husband, John. Upon graduation from high school, she attended Radford College in Radford, Virginia and earned a bachelor’s degree in Art.

She taught elementary through high school art in Dover, Delaware. On one weekend she visited Quantico, Virginia and became reacquainted with John, who was now a Marine. Later they were married at the Quantico Chapel, transferred to the Third Marine Air Wing at El Toro, California, and had two children, Erin and Sean.

After military service, family members were free to pursue their individual interests, which focused around higher education. The next stop was West Lafayette, Indiana. Paula took courses in literature. When their stay at Purdue came to an end in 1976, Alex Hailey published Roots. Paula had always been interested in her family’s history and how to pursue it.

For years, Paula has researched her family’s history and she has more than enough for a book. But she also helped friends and neighbors with their families. She has published books for friends and family but was still working on publishing her own genealogy. We are working on locating the final manuscript in order to publish it.

She was preceded in death by her brother, Robert Kelley. She is survived by her husband, John Ward; her brother and sister, Richard Kelley and Peggy Kelley; her children, Erin Byers and Sean Ward; three grandchildren, Angela Russo, Tony Russo, and Heather Delgado; two great-grandchildren; eight nieces and nephews; and many great-nieces and nephews.

The Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until 12 noon on Friday, August 12, 2022, at Oakey’s South Chapel, 4257 Brambleton Ave., Roanoke, VA 24018. A Graveside Service will follow at 1 p.m. on Friday at Evergreen Burial Park, 1307 Summit Ave., SW, Roanoke, VA 24015, (540) 342-2593.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to either or to Online condolences may be expressed to the family at

Arrangements by Oakey’s Funeral Service – South Chapel, Roanoke, Va., (540) 989-3131.