Jean Kelso Passes Away at 85


Virginia Lee “Jean” Kelso passed away on June 1, 2019 at her home in Hermiston at the age of 85.

She was born on Aug. 21, 1933 in Menard, Texas.

Jean grew up as the oldest of nine children. Her family moved from Texas to Pullman, Wash., where she was a majorette in high school. She graduated in 1952 and married Jack Burton. Jean and Jack lived on a farm in Idaho until 1973, when they moved to Hermiston. They had seven children together and were married for 33 years.

Jean was an excellent seamstress. She sewed many items for her household and clothing for all her children. She also taught sewing to kids in 4-H. She decorated cakes and made beautiful wedding cakes. Jean and Jack owned a carpet and upholstery shop in Hermiston in the late 1970s, where they worked together upholstering furniture and laying carpet.

In 1985, Jean married Carl Kelso and moved to Meacham, where she ran the Meacham Tavern. She also had a tavern and restaurant in Starkey. Jean retired and returned to Hermiston in 2011.

She was crafty and talented in so many ways. Jean enjoyed doing beadwork and arranging silk flowers. She was an avid reader, sometimes finishing a book in a day. Jean was very smart and she loved watching game shows, rarely missing an answer on Jeopardy. She had always wanted to be on The Wheel of Fortune and would set an alarm to get up and watch her favorite game shows. She loved to play bingo, bunco and pinochle with her friends each week. Jean looked forward to her yearly bus trip to Winnemucca. Jean also loved plants and flowers and enjoyed growing orchids and African violets in her home. Jean was president of the Hermiston Eagles Lodge at least twice and was very active in lodge activities from 1973 until the lodge closed a few years ago.

Jean is survived by many friends; her brothers, Jim, John and Eugene Martin; her sisters, Fay Celmer, Jaunita Fiest, Sue Franzel and Mary Hunter; her daughters, Terri Dodge, Paula Greene and Jacque Prior; her sons, Randy and Mark Burton; and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Irene Martin; first husband, Jack Burton; second husband, Carl Kelso; brother, Ray Martin; son, Dan Burton; daughter, Penny Burton; and her grandchildren, Brandon and Wesley Burton.

A private memorial will take place at a later date this summer.

Contributions may be made in Virginia’s memory to St. Jude Hospital or the American Heart Association.

Please share memories of Virginia with her family at

Burns Mortuary of Hermiston is in care of arrangements.