Janis May Lanning Kelso, 90, homemaker

December 29, 2003

Janis May Lanning Kelso, a longtime homemaker in Stoneleigh and Salisbury, died of cardiac arrest Wednesday at Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville. She was 90.

She was born and raised in East Orange, N.J., and graduated from East Orange High School. In the 1930s, she graduated from the Maryland College for Women in Lutherville with a bachelor's degree in education.

She taught kindergarten in New Jersey for two years before marrying Frederick Kelso, an electrical engineer for Westinghouse, in 1939.

Shortly before the wedding, she approached the officiating minister, who also was the father of her husband-to-be, and told him, "I will love and I will honor, but I will not obey," said her daughter, Nancy Elaine Kelso of Baltimore. He replied, "Very well, Janis. I will remove that word from your vows," her daughter said.

Mrs. Kelso became a homemaker after marrying, and she and her husband moved to Stoneleigh in 1945. They remained for 20 years until her husband was transferred to a job in Pittsburgh. After he retired, they returned to Maryland, making their home in Salisbury. Mr. Kelso died in 1977. Mrs. Kelso moved to Catonsville in 1989.

Mrs. Kelso was a Brownie Scout troop leader in Stoneleigh and enjoyed singing at home, where she was accompanied on piano by her husband or daughter, and at events for the Women's Club of Towson. She was a longtime member of Govans Presbyterian Church.

Her daughter remembered that Mrs. Kelso always handed out cookies to neighborhood children on the first day of school.

Services have not been scheduled.

In addition to her daughter, she is survived by a son, Barton Lanning Kelso of Newtonville, Mass.; and a granddaughter.

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