Former Ray High School students honor deceased teacher

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Workers from Tucson Marble and Granite Company swing the headstone into place.

By Vicki Clark

Through the efforts of many the realization of a dream was put into place last week at the Kearny Cemetery when a memorial headstone for Gudrun Analisa Bistrup Kelso was delivered.

Mrs. Kelso, who passed away in 2009, was perhaps the best loved teacher Ray High School ever had. She began teaching at the old Ray High School in Ray in 1943 and her career spanned 30 years with retirement in 1972.

During that time she befriended students from Ray, Sonora, Kelvin, Riverside, Dudleyville, Dripping Springs, Santos Ranch and Battle Ax Ranch.

She had no biological children but no one could have more “kids” than she had. She was not only an educator, but also a good listener and became a great friend to the many “kids” she bore through the years at RHS.

After she died her cremains were interred in the Kearny Cemetery, but nothing marked the resting place except for a placard and this concerned many of her “kids.”

The idea of a memorial headstone to honor her came up a few years ago during a reunion and soon a fundraising effort was launched. A committee was formed to design the marker. Tucson Marble & Granite was contacted and the foundation was poured.

And after months of waiting the beautiful headstone was placed while several “kids” watched and remembered their time spent with “Kelso.”

Thanks to Alfred Lopez from the class of 1960 who spearheaded the memorial effort, Anastacio Rivera, Janice (Phelps) and Billy Magallanez, Mercedes Mercado, Rose (Brace) Bradford, Frank Giroux, Richard Huerta and many more, Mrs. Kelso will be remembered forever.

For those who would like to view the memorial, it is located in the Birdsell family plot and is a beautiful tribute to a great lady and friend.

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Among those who watched while the memorial headstone for Mrs. Kelso was placed include, l to r, Lloyd Wilson, Mary Lou Knauff Long, Ramon Esquivel, Patty Coffey, Ruth Luera, Frank Giroux, Richard Huerta, Mary Huerta, Ron Bickley and Rose Bradford. Not pictured are Ellen Endsley and Vicki Clark.

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