Nordelle Kelly

Nordelle Kelly
Nordelle Kelly

    Nordelle Robinson Kelly — Madame Kelly to her pupils — who taught French for two decades in the schools here, died of complications of colon cancer on Aug. 16 at home in East Hampton.
    Mrs. Kelly, who moved to East Hampton with her husband, Raymond F. Kelly, in 1974, held several culinary positions before settling on education. She had a bread-baking business, having convinced the owners of the mill in Water Mill to operate the grinding stone there, turning her sacks of wheat into flour. Her bread was the only bread ground by that mill in many years. She also worked as a private cook and pastry chef at the Royal Fish and the Laundry restaurants.
    She was born on March 9, 1937, to Vincenza Lillian Mastropaolo and Frank Robinson and grew up on Staten Island. She enrolled at Wagner College there and became a French major. “She was a true Francophile,” said her son, Christopher Kelly of Brooklyn. She taught herself professional cooking techniques and concentrated on all things French — the language, food, music, art, and literature.
    For a time she was an assistant in cultural services at the French Embassy in New York City. Upon earning her teaching degree, she embarked on a special program in the French city of Besancon, and later Limoges, where she taught English.
    She was later a French instructor at Queensborough Community College, and in the early 1980s Mrs. Kelly began teaching at the Springs School while pursuing a master’s degree at the State University at Stony Brook. She traveled to France again to study at university programs in Angers and Poitiers.
    In 1986, she started teaching French at East Hampton High School and the middle school, continuing until 1997, when she took early retirement because of complications from Lyme disease.
    After retiring, Mrs. Kelly enjoyed a peaceful life at home in East Hampton, spending time with friends and family, gardening, and privately tutoring a handful of students.
    Her cancer diagnosis preceded her death by only a few months. In addition to her son, she is survived a daughter, Nina Kelly of Stuyvesant, N.Y., and two granddaughters. A brother, Charles Robinson of Picayune, Miss., and a sister, Ann Despont of Mendham, N.J., also survive.
    Memorial contributions can be made in Mrs. Kelly’s name to the Retreat, 13 Goodfriend Drive, East Hampton 11937, or to the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, P.O. Box 901, Wainscott 11975.


Oh, I am so very sorry to hear this. I remember Mrs. Kelly as one of the nicest ladies I've ever known. I remember visiting with Nina at their home as a child and watching in amazement as she baked the most beautiful braided bread in her kitchen. A few years later I remember her introducing me to the flavor of fennel during lunch time at school. Over the years running into her here and there, she always had the most gentle smile and peaceful aura. My sincerest condolences to Nina & Christopher and families. Much Love, Gail Simons
How saddened I am by the passing of my cousin Nordelle. We lived in the same house for at least 13 years. Although our lives have taken different paths, she was always my favoite cousin. We were like soul sisters, sharing secrets and enjoying life. When we were 16 yrs old we went on a trip to San Antonio, Texas with my godfather and he was also our uncle Sal, his wife Janet and their children. Not too long ago she sent me a letter she had written home that summer and it brought back many sweet memories. I will always miss her - sadly we had just started to reconnect. To Ann Margaret and Charlie my deepest condolences on your sister's passing Be well Cousin Tina (Mary Clementine Mastropaolo)
I was fortunate enough to have known Madame Kelly as Mademoiselle Robinson, many years ago, when she was working for the French Embassy. She was the elder sister of a friend. As such,she was an absolute inspiration: beautiful, cultured, kind, generous. She had great style and the most incroyable wardrobe! She had great friends. She broadened my horizons and enriched my life. She was a wonderful as the roses in her garden.
I knew Nordelle a long time ago in 1960. We were best friends. I even have a photograph of her. She stayed with me for a few days in Florida when my parents went away. I also visited her in Staten Island. I will never forget her. Nordelle was the best cook and I had her delicious apple pie. have often thought of her over the years. She will be missed. rip Nordelle.