Today my mom is being inducted into the Hall of Fame for Fine Arts, by her Saint Mary’s Central High School in Bismarck, North Dakota. My mom, Helen “Kelley” Mohs, was only 69 when died February 9, 2011 surrounded by family in the comfort of her home. My mom was born on October 29, 1941 in Bismarck, North Dakota to Clement and Teresa (Hager) Kelley. She graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Bismarck and received her teaching certificate from Mount Marty College in Yankton, North Dakota. She taught at schools in Nebraska, Minnesota, Texas and Germany.
My mom met the love of her life, Donald Mohs, while attending Mankato State College in Minnesota. They married in 1963 and had two children, Kevin and me. My mom battled Hodgkin’s Disease in her twenties and won.
My family traveled the world, living in Japan, Germany, California, Oklahoma, Washington and Texas. My mom found inspiration for her imaginative artwork and creative cooking. Her style of oil paintings reflected her formal college training as well as years of living in Japan and Germany. Her training in Japanese simplicity and German Expressionism came together with bold colors and ideas.
Art was an important part of my mom’s life. Regarding her art she said, “To me art is the tool that allows me to express humor and whimsy with color and movement seen in our everyday surroundings. I believe in the complete artistic process. You see or feel and then create an original interpretation.”
I am thrilled that Saint Mary’s Central High School chose to honor her this week by inducting her into their Hall of Fame. She learned of her nomination while she was in final days of life. She wrote, “I’m surprised and pleased that you were so kind to nominate me for that…. I am really shocked and appreciative — and Sister Marilyn needs to be given credit for what she did in the art department.”
I’ve decided to add a Hall of Fame of my own to my blog with the addition of the Kelley Mohs Gallery page to my categories. I will continue to add her work over time. For now enjoy one of my favorites in this blog post.
We were so fond of this painting, and it spoke volumes of my mother, that we added it to her grave marker. The beauty of this picture is that is that I snapped this photo on a random day. It wasn’t at her funeral, or on her birthday or on the anniversary of her loss, it was a random day more than a year after her passing and her tombstone was covered in flowers, paint brushes and love.