June B. Kelley’s avid love of gardening is still beautifully evident in the Long Beach community, even though she passed away five years ago. Her son, Dennis, created the June B. Kelley Garden Fund for Long Beach to support public gardens on Oriole Trail between the former Long Beach Elementary School and the Town Hall.
“I grew up about a block from Long Beach school,” Dennis said. “I was playing in the Long Beach play area and spent many years in that garden area. I wanted to commemorate our family, and certainly my mother, for what she did for the community.” He shares that she was very active with the Long Beach Garden Club and had a beautiful rose garden and backyard patio.
Returning from Indianapolis to visit, Dennis was concerned to see the garden area become overgrown, so he decided to return it to the glory of the 1950s and ‘60s. About 10 years ago he created a memorial for his Long Beach 8th grade class of 1964 with a nice garden along Oriole Trail. Then he made a garden for the Kelley family. “I decided we’d move ahead and revitalize the whole area. We have made great progress but there’s more to do.”
Dennis has defined goals for the future of the project. He makes frequent trips to work on the project, and is pleased that “people who live there and enjoy walking through in the mornings will stop and say how nice it looks.”