Fredia Mae (Johnson) Kelly
By Karen Cuccinello
The Stamford Village Library history room houses Fredia Kelly’s scrapbook that contains oodles of photos, school certificates and keepsakes mostly pertaining to herself and her son. One of the items that would be helpful to all is a photo and program of the Stamford Central School class of 1941. We do not have a yearbook, in the library’s collection for 1941 as I do not think a yearbook was made that year because of WWII.
Fredia was born, an only child, in Harpersfield September 20, 1897 to Leroy (a blacksmith, 1872-1940) and Mary (Mattice 1877-1953) Johnson. She lived in Stamford Village her whole life and was going to school or working throughout her life starting at the age of 18. She married Joseph Edward Kelly, who was often her next door neighbor, October 1, 1921 in Albany. Their one and only child, Edward Leroy, was born March 8, 1923. Fredia and son are living next door to her parents in the 1930 Stamford census and her mother is with her in 1940. She listed her status as married but Joseph is not living in the household in either year.
Fredia graduated from the Stamford Seminary in 1917, the Stamford Seminary Training Class in 1928, State Normal School Oneonta in 1931, attended Syracuse University at some point before 1947 and earned a Bachelors Degree from State Teachers College Oneonta in 1949. In 1916 she was a saleslady in Robinson Bros. store in Stamford, probably 72 Main Street; in 1930 she is a teacher in a District school in Harpersfield and taught second grade at some point after the Stamford Central School was built in 1936 until her death.
Fredia volunteered and usually held offices in numerous organizations especially related to helping the military. She was an active member of Civil Defense, manned the Air Observation Post on West End Avenue in 1953, she received an award for serving 1500 hours in the Ground Observer Corps 1954, War Loan Drive committee, Ladies Auxiliary to the Lt. Harry Pruden Jr. Post Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Women’s Voluntary Services (AWVS) during WWII. Mrs. Alice (Tinker) McLean, who had a part-time residence in South Kortright, organized the AWVS.
She was a member of Catholic Daughters of America, Bathgate Hospital Fund Drive, National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and March of Dimes. Pertaining to the Stamford Seminary and Central School she was a part of the Alumni Association, PTA and Junior Red Cross.
Fredia’s husband Joseph was born December 21, 1889 to Edward and Emma Kelly/Kelley in Stamford, where he lived most of his life. He served during WWI and was a plumber. Joseph died January 3, 1963 and is buried in Beverly National Cemetery, Beverly, NJ.
Fredia’s son Edward graduated from Stamford Central School in 1941, joined the Marine Corps the following year and served 4 ½ years, then resided in Rochester, NY and married Gaetana Tessie Vaccaro of Rochester on October 19, 1946. They had a daughter, Allison Fredia in 1948. He was called back into active service with the Marine Corps in 1950. I am not sure what became of Edward but he was listed as a surviving relative in Fredia’s obituary. His wife married Howard J. Mayer in 1957.
Fredia died in her sleep at her home in Stamford, December 21, 1955 and is buried with her parents in Stamford Cemetery. The Johnson/Kelly house at 2 River Street still stands but empty.