Community rallies behind widowed mother of nine

Posted at 6:21 PM, Dec 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-01 18:21:00-05

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Being a mother to nine kids is challenging, to say the least. Especially around the holidays.

But Margaret Kelley's life got a major jolt when her husband and the father of her children -- also the family's sole provider -- died in a tree trimming accident while working.

Kelley's husband, Shawn, owned a tree service. He encouraged his wife to quit her job so that she could focus school; she was on track to become a nurse practitioner.

On Oct. 14, Shawn was working when a tree came down on top of him. He suffered two broken shoulders, two collapsed lungs and relied on life support. After more than a month in the hospital, he died over the weekend.

On the cusp of the holidays, Margaret said she's worried about how the family will fare without their father.

But neighbors, co-workers and friends of the Colerain Township family decided they won't let the children's holiday suffer in the wake of their father's death.

"It's important to us to make sure that even though Shawn is gone," said Bill Peltier, a former supervisor of Shawn Kelley before he started his own business. "We'd like to take care of his children and his wife."

Kelley worked at Metro Auto Center before he started his tree business. Peltier and other Metro Auto employees are currently taking gifts and donations for the Kelley family in time for Christmas.

Family friends also set up a GoFundMe account for the family. And donations will go directly to the family's bank account, according to the fundraising site.

This Saturday, the Kelley family and friends organized a celebration of life and gift-giving party at God's Vision Kingdom Ministry on Northland Boulevard. The event will go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will also "celebrate their dad's life."

Click here to visit the Kelley family's GoFundMe account.

Or drop gifts and donations off at Metro Auto Group, 4497 Harrison Ave., Cincinnati, 45211.