Hortense Virginia Philbrick Kelly, 97, of Eastham, MA, passed away peacefully on Saturday, November 11, in her home, surrounded by family.

Born in Seattle, WA on February 25, 1920, daughter of the late Max and Pearl Philbrick, she was raised in Hartford, CT and had lived in Hartford and Newington before moving full time to Eastham.

Hortense graduated from Bulkeley High School and attended the University of Hartford. She was a Claims Examiner for CT General Insurance. After raising her family, she returned to work as a Paraprofessional at Bulkeley High School, working in the Physical Education Department and as Assistant Coach for the Boys and Girls swim teams.

She competed with the CT Masters Swim Team and as an outdoor enthusiast, Hortense became very involved when she retired to Cape Cod in 1983. She pursued yoga, running, biking and race walking, winning several competitive awards for race walking. For 25 years she was the Leader of the Eastham Hiking Club and received the Senior Citizen Award in 1999.

Hortense was instrumental in founding Cape Cod Pathways which is a part of the Cape Cod Commission’s effort to create a Capewide network of walking trails that extend from Provincetown to Falmouth and Bourne. She completed the walk 3 times. She was a volunteer for the Cape Cod National Seashore for 15 years; volunteered her time as a swim instructor in the Eastham area; and had a passion for gardening and was a gardener to many family members, friends and neighbors. She especially took great pleasure in providing garden tours of her yard. Hortense embraced life and was a role model for a healthy, active life. “Keep moving” was her motto.

She was predeceased by her husband of 49 years, Matthias “Ty” Kelly, her sisters, Barbara Pennington and Evelyn Philbrick.

She leaves behind six children, Cheryl Adams and her husband Christy of Shelton, CT; Wayne Kelly of Eastham, MA; Jeff Kelly and his wife Tonja of Tolland, CT; Todd Kelly and his fiancé Karen Clow of Mashpee, MA; Wendy Kelly of Vernon, CT and Melanie Howley and her husband Jim of Ridgefield, CT; 11 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren; her older brother Herbert Philbrick of Rocky Hill, CT and many loving nieces and nephews.

Her family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to the wonderful nurses, aides, and support staff at Hope Hospice who were always so kind and took such good care of our mother. We will be forever grateful.

A memorial service and celebration of Hortense’s life will be announced at a later date (2018).

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in her memory may be made to the Lower Cape Interfaith Council for Homelessness,14 Old Tote Road, PO Box 828, Orleans, MA 02653.

Hortense asked, in her memory, to “walk a mile for me.”