Grand Rapids, MI —
47, was killed in car accident January 25 near Fowler, Illinois. Her
son, 16-year-old Justice, was also killed in the crash. Kelly, a
resident of nearby Clayton, Ill., was the author of 11 books, among
them a best-selling inspirational historical fiction series centered
around the Wortham and Hammond families, set in Southern Illinois. Her
most recent book, The House on Malcolm Street, was published by Revell in September 2010.
Kelly leaves behind her husband, K. J., and a daughter, Hosanna. Kelly
home-schooled her two children and served as a children’s ministry
director and a youth minister at her family’s church. The couple had
also recently become foster parents.
Vicki Crumpton, Executive Editor for Revell, who worked with Kelly since her first book, Julia’s Hope,
was published in 2001 said, “I remember receiving Leisha’s first
proposal in 2001. I read what her agent sent and called him that day to
ask to read more of the manuscript. When I presented the proposal to our
publishing committee, the team read the proposal and a few sample
chapters. The first thing people asked was, ‘When can we read the rest?’
And every time we received a new proposal from Leisha, people always
asked, ‘When can I read more?’ Leisha’s fans felt the same way. They
always wanted to know when her next book would be out.
“Leisha Kelly was an amazing talent. More than that, she was an
amazing person, loved by family, friends, and her fans. Her unique
writing voice will be greatly missed,” Crumpton said.
Twila Bennett, Senior Director of Marketing for Revell, remembers a
story Kelly told her once. “She had a vivid memory of one of her first
writing experiences that has stayed with me after all this time. She was
young, it was the year that Mount Saint Helens erupted and she had
heard the news stories about how the ashes might fall on other states.
She felt a story burning in her and went out to her front porch and
wrote and wrote. And then, the ashes from Mount Saint Helens really did
indeed begin falling on her paper like snow.
“I keep seeing that young Leisha now and look in wonderment at this
girl, who overcame so much and gained the world on Tuesday with her son
at her side,” Bennett said.