Paintings by Kelly Potter

 



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The folowing are some of the letters, comments, and warm memories we have received from Kelly's friends. We appreciate hearing from you!

From: Sarah Salvo (September 2012)

Hi Sue,

Just thought I would drop by and say hi. We have been a very busy family. We took our first road trip 7 hrs south with Kelly to go to Padre Island and spend the long holiday weekend with 6 other couples as a beach house. Despite the long ride and a semi cranky baby on the way down, we had an amazing time. Swimming in the ocean was so amazing! I miss being able to do it whenever I want, we don't live close enough to a decent beach and spend most of our time swimming in our pool. It was a wonderful first family vacation and now we are looking forward to being able to do something similar again. In November we are going to Oklahoma City to spend Thanksgiving with Family and then December we are flying to Boston for Christmas with my parents. Who knows, I may even participate in the Polar Plunge this year...LOL

Kelly Ann Salvo courtesy of Sarah Salvo (September 2012) Kelly Ann Salvo courtesy of Sarah Salvo (September 2012)

From: Philip Pittle (August 2012)

Dear Sue, It is really nice to hear from you and I am really glad to hear that everyone is doing so well. Squamish did indeed plant a small memorial grapefruit tree in the Florida Tech botanical gardens and commemorated with a game of Whales Tails, a traditional squamish drinking game that begins with a toast to the "Divers and the pilots" in honor of our brothers that have left us too soon. The pluralization of pilots was in Kelly's honor. Additionally, we built a picnic bench with a plaque dedicated the bench to Kelly next to the grapefruit tree. Unfortunately, the tree did not do well in the sandy soil of the botanical garden and sadly did not make it. But, the bench is still there and I visited it the last time I was in Melbourne in 2010. And from talking to the new students, they have come to refer to it as tall bench or Kelly's bench.

I have been in Amsterdam for the past two years working on a masters degree in computer science and just completed the program two weeks ago. I've really come to like it here in the Netherlands and landed a job (building web applications oddly enough, and will be working on www.greenpeace.com) and an apartment so I'm going to stay for at least another year. Despite the distance, I still think of Kelly often. I made sure to bring the fancy victoria secret bathrobe she gave me to Amsterdam!

As for the people I've been able to keep in touch with, Shannon Maitland is engaged (although, she may have gotten married by now, but I think they've delayed the wedding) and is living in Ft Myers, FL with her fiance and their son. She recently finished getting her masters in public administration, I believe, and is working on as a grant writer on green projects. And I just heard she's expecting.

Erica Buffington just took a job in Maryland working at a nuclear power plant there and is settling in well, but is dreading the winter a bit. Gideon Berkowitz is in Philidelphia and is engaged to my Czech flatmate from last year. They are getting married September 15th just outside of Prague. Steph and Justin are doing well and are still in Pennsylvania.

Again, I am glad to here that everyone is doing so well. Please wish your husband Dick a happy retirement on his behalf and I hope you can join him shortly, but hopefully he keeps fixing you dinner!... ...Best of luck with your triathlon! It was great hearing from you and I wish you and your family all of the best. Best Regards, PJ

From: Amy McCormick (August 2012)

Amy's daughter Natalie. Natalie is just over 18 months now and is so much fun. She has some pretty new dresses for Easter. I can't wait to dress her up. School is flying by. We only have 8 weeks left. I am so glad. I am really looking forward to having some time off to spend some major quality time with Natalie. She is growing up so fast.

Natalie courtesy of Amy McCormick (August 2012) Ms. Natalie courtesy of AMy Mcormick (April 2012) Ms. Natalie courtesy of AMy Mcormick (April 2012)

From: Sue Potter (July 2012)

Here are baby photos of Isla Kelly Skapik for Kelly's web site, but since this seems to be the year of children for Kelly's web site (seems like lots of her friends have had babies!) I thought it would be nice to have a gallery of baby photos. Kelly's great cousin (daughter of her cousin Ivan who is my sister Mary's son) Isla Kelly is going to be 5 this October (10/15/07). More to come...

Isla Kelly Skapik courtesy of Sue Potter (July 2012) Isla Kelly Skapik courtesy of Sue Potter (July 2012)

From: Sarah and Vince Salvo (May 2012)

Sarah and Vince Salvo present their daughter, Kelly Ann Salvo born March 30th, 2012.

Sarah Salvo with Kelly Ann Salvo courtesy of Sarah Salvo (March 2012) Kevin Salvo with Kelly Ann Salvo courtesy of Sarah Salvo (March 2012) Kelly Ann Salvo courtesy of Sarah Salvo (March 2012)

From: Amy McCormick (April 2012)

Oh my gosh -- I almost forgot to tell you that we are doing grapefruit launches next Friday. I have a grapefruit cannon that we use in physics that launches grapefruit pretty darn far. We launch every spring. My students calculate the initial velocity of the grapefruit as it comes out of the cannon and the height that the grapefruit achieves. Brothers and pledges always come out to my school to help with the launches. The name of the cannon is painted on the side -- the Lil' Kelly Potter. LOL - I figured you might like that. This is a short video that I taped back in 2009 of pledges helping one of my students launch fruit. The girl in green is Sarah btw that wrote you a few years ago. XOXO


From: Amy McCormick (April 2012)

Hi Sue!! I just got off of the phone with the pledge Amy and we have made plans for this Monday to go out to Erna Nixon park to find Kelly's board. We will find it together and take a picture. Hopefully her pledge brothers can make it out there too.

Kelly Potter Pledge Painting courtesy of Amy McCormick (April 2012) I think you should definitely keep up with Kelly's paintings. Pledge paintings were always such a big deal for Kelly. She loved them and even now, every pledge class does a shout out to Kelly before beginning. Attached is a picture of Kelly doing her pledge painting back in 2000. I don't know if you have a copy of this pic but it always goes into the pledge books. In the picture with her are three of her pledge brothers, Mike, James, and Liz.

By: Elianna Fred

The following is a speech by Ms. Fred presented on November 4, 2008 before the entire student body at the Marin Academy in San Rafael, CA as part of a requirement for graduating seniors.

The doorbell rings. Mau Mau, my grandmother opens the door and there stands 18 year-old high school student, Kelly Potter, holding a bag of groceries. Her light brown hair frames her young face as she smiles, handing the sack to my grandmother. After chatting for awhile about the Dallas Cowboys, Kelly leaves saying, \93See ya next week!\94

Flash forward six years and another doorbell rings, this time in Florida. A different family member, not my own, opens the door and sees Kelly standing there with that same genuine smile. She is bald. The last round of chemotherapy has failed. Her doctor allows her a one-day leave from the confines of the hospital, and she chooses to spend it with her family, celebrating her own grandmother\92s birthday. Kelly died the next weekend. She was twenty-four.

Kelly Potter was my grandmother\92s companion and helper. She did a myriad of errands from shopping to bank visits as well as taking Mau Mau to get her manicure, a weekly luxury she would never miss. Although not the most glamorous of jobs, Kelly often remarked to my mom that she adored spending time with my grandmother. It was a time she could remove herself from the stresses of school, and just enjoy the moment. Once Kelly graduated from high school, she went to Florida Tech, training to become a commercial airline pilot, while also pursuing her ongoing love of visual art. One of her paintings hangs at our ranch.

One summer after college, Kelly contracted a flu she could not shake. By October she was diagnosed with leukemia. She died five days after Thanksgiving. Yet, her last months were not lived in despair. Her hospital room walls were covered floor to ceiling with butcher paper filled with signatures and sentiments from anybody who came to know her. She maintained her fun-loving, compassionate spirit, concerned most with caring for those around her. Kelly Potter tangentially touched my life, forever embedding in me the importance of living in the moment, and not weighing down today with the worries of tomorrow. Kelly lived her life day-to-day, and I only wish she had had more days, months, and years to cherish.

Change is coming. Today we are electing a new President and Vice President of the United States. Our future is hopefully taking a new direction from the havoc we and others around the globe have experienced in the last eight years. And yet, is this all we have to count on? Famous politicians fixing our problems? What is our own responsibility? The moments we each spend waiting for change could be used to create our own solutions.

How many times do we all lament that if only we had a little more spare time, we would volunteer a few more hours a week, spend an extra afternoon with one of our siblings or our parents, clean out our rooms and give our barely used clothing to the poor? I admit I am among the worst for my refrain: \93I\92m so stressed; I have too much on my plate to add one more thing. Don\92t ask me to do something different now. Ask me later, when I\92m on vacation, when I\92m in college, or when I have my own job, my own house, my own family. Then, I\92ll have time. Then, I\92ll do whatever is needed.\94

Of course, some people never get a then. When I complain about life handing me too much to manage, Kelly Potter wafts through my mind and I am hushed, speechless. Today, November 4th, on this Tuesday, on this Election Day, 60 United States citizens will die of leukemia. While the rest of us watch the election results tonight, those families will be grief-stricken, suddenly flooded with the unimaginable and horrible details of a life ending too soon.

Today doesn\92t belong only to Senators Obama and McCain. Today BELONGS TO US! We choose what we will do with it, how well we will love others, whether we will make the world a little better, or just remain in the confines of our own comfort zones. Kelly Potter teaches us that we may never have tomorrow. We only have today. It\92s time not only to elect a new president, but to empower ourselves with the ability to change the world around us. Change is coming but WE must bring the change we need.

From: Courtney Pine

I checked out Kelly's web site and it looks great. I like the biography and love how the photo gallery of paintings is set up.

Kelly had an aloe plant and after she moved in it was in a small pot on our door step. We both forgot about it though, and it dried up and turned brown. It sat in the pot for several months, unwatered. Now I noticed it again after Kelly passed away, and I began watering it. Within a month, it came back to life. I know aloe plants are durable, but this plant was ignored for many months, and then flourished. It takes up three pots now. I like to think about it symbolically.

From: Stephanie Skelonis

We were devastated by the news and unfortunately didn't hear anything about her being sick until very late. We had moved to Pennsylvania in 2004 and try to make it down to Florida at least once a year to keep in touch with everyone. I remember Kelly had done a bunch of artwork on the wall in Kristy's apartment. Amazing! It was like a jungle in her hallway! I wonder if I couldn't find some pictures of that for you. Unfortunately Kristy moved a few years ago. Kelly was such a great person.

When I was a freshman and pledging to Squamish she always found a way to give me some peace and quiet to study. One night she took me and another girl, Michelle, back to her house beachside to study. We picked up fresh fruit and made yummy smoothies! She took us all out to dinner that night, a rare commodity for a poor freshman. It was funny to see us all sitting around the table at Texas Roadhouse with books and notes piled all around stuffing our faces on steak and sweet potatoes!

Kelly created a fantastic photo album for Squamish with so many pictures and fun shapes cut out on the paper and pictures and cute drawings everywhere. She was always so artistic and with a crazy imagingation. I remember one party we had she got us to set up a glow in the dark croquet game, attaching glow sticks to all the goals. It was so much fun and definately a first for most of us! Kelly always found a way to be the life of the party and bring a smile to everyones face.

From: Vermeda Fred

Dear Sue:

I am so very sorry to hear of your deep loss of Kelly's life. I only just found out, and wish I had known at the time. I have the fondest memories of her, because as you know, she was the first caretaker for my mom after my mother moved to Novato from Texas. Because of Kelly, the person she was, I never had to place another ad for a companion! The following year, after Kelly graduated, one of her friends took the job, then one of that girl's friends, and on for the next five years until my mom passed away in December 2002. Because Kelly was such a compassionate, energetic, curious and tolerant spirit, she attracted people as friends who were also stellar, caring people, and she gave my mother dear wonderful afternoons at a very hard time of transition.

Again, I share your sorrow in the loss of your daughter. She was an exceptional young woman and an inspiration to so many, I'm sure. She was my mother's favorite, as wonderful as her friends were who followed. Kelly was the type of person who cheers the rest of us, refueling our hope, calling our eye to the bright things around us. I'm so sorry the world did not have the benefit of her presence for the many years in which she could have given so much. With deep appreciation of Kelly's life and gifts, as I knew her ~

Vermeda Fred

From: Joseph Morrow

Note from Kelly's mom:

The following was Joe Morrow's response when I asked him if he remembered some photos I found when I was going through Kelly's things. Joe had come home with Kelly on one of her breaks when they were both in school together. I got to see Joe again when I went back to Florida November 7 to meet the first recipient of the Kelly Potter Memorial Aviation Scholarship at Florida Institute of Technology, and again in February 2008 when Joe came to California to see Kelly's paintings on display at Rolling Hills Club and to visit her grave site.

As for remembering the limo and the dress, that was one of the most unforgettable experiences in my life. I can still remember that Valentine\92s Day as like it was yesterday. I remember doing homework at my house and Kelly came in my room and threw down a tuxedo on the bed and told me to change. I had no idea what was going on. I stood there dumbfounded for a minute or two as she ran off to change and get ready. I started to look over the tux and the doorbell rang, I opened the door and there was a gentleman dressed in a tuxedo asking for a Mr. Morrow, and by this time I was really confused. Kelly came to the door and told the gentleman she needed five more minutes, and actually got upset that he had come early\85I was simply beside myself and had Kelly not come to the door, I was about to tell the guy he was at the wrong house as nobody had ever done anything that had involved so much planning and I was just shocked. And, she had told them it was our anniversary so we got a free bottle of champagne for while we were riding in the limo. The restaurant we went to was even more amazing and everything about that evening was just simply amazing and wonderful. She looked absolutely gorgeous in that dress, so remarkably beautiful. I wish I could relive that evening over and over again\85.

As for Kelly\92s illness, she and I talked on the cell phone when she first was admitted to the hospital. It was always interesting conversation and she remarked how she loved the lollipops she got. Her voice was always frail and soft, but full of hope.

As for other stories, there are soo many. Did she ever tell you about how we first started dating. She was visiting my roommate Jeremy at the time and she had popped into my room to say hi, as I had met her before when she had dated Jeremy in freshman year. We started talking and she had noticed I had a piano in my room, and she had asked me to play some for her. So we sat down together on the bench and I played an old song I had learned called Cockles and Mussels, I believe its an old Irish tune, but I could be wrong about that, but anyways she was impressed so I went on and I was working on Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, and I played what I knew at the time, and she was really impressed and she went on to play a couple of songs she knew, and we ended up talking all night. It was definitely one of the happiest days of my life and one of those moments I hope I never forget.

Another memorable moment, is when I took Kelly out to lunch with my grandmother in Ft. Lauderdale. We went to this beautiful restaurant/hotel on the ocean and had such a good time. Kelly would always ask about my grandmother and genuinely cared about how she was doing. My grandmother absolutely adored Kelly and always asked about her. She also wanted her to come visit as much as possible, because it was always such a wonderful time.

...We had a giant lemon tree out of back of where I was staying, and she loaded up my truck with lemons and drove it to the school, which I was pretty sure it was an elementary school. I don't know if this was Amy's class or not, but they were having an experiment day making a potato/grapefruit/lemon launcher and Kelly had volunteered all these lemons. So, she drove the truck over to the school and she and the kids shot lemons out of the canon for the afternoon. Pretty funny now that I think about it, but that was Kelly.

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