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Memories & Candles

Ronnie & Erin Phillips
1 of 11 | Posted by: Ronnie Phillips - Nashville, TN

“Kay and family, so sorry to hear of your loss, however she has many who have gone before her to welcome her. Your mother was very special to my Dad ...Read More »
2 of 11 | Posted by: John Kelly - Gravenhurst, Ontario

“She was a special person respected by all who knew her. May she rest in peace. ”
3 of 11 | Posted by: Rebecca Brandel - Overland Park, KS

“Katie I'm so sorry about your mom. I know you two were really close. You we will b blessed for all the love and care you gave so freely to your mom....Read More »
4 of 11 | Posted by: Levita Foster - Houson, TX

“My deepest condolences to your family. The extended information you provided was so appropriate, giving some background of a wonder ful woman. I met...Read More »
5 of 11 | Posted by: Mark Grove - Does Moines, IA

“I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your mother, Kay. I know how much she meant to you. Take peace in your happy memories, dear friend.Sending...Read More »
6 of 11 | Posted by: Colleen McKenna Johnston - Ankeny, IA

“Please accept our deepest sympathy to Kay & family . We had a lot of good times with Steve & Anita over the years. She dearly loved you & your...Read More »
7 of 11 | Posted by: Bstb & Gene Morhardt - IA

“Dearest Kay and family, I am so sorry. Please know I'm thinking of you during this time of loss. Your mom was very special and will be greatly missed...Read More »
8 of 11 | Posted by: Cindy Murray - Davenport, IA

“Kay,I'm so sorry for your loss. Reading her obituary makes me think so much about you as well. She taught you right on how to be so giving to all....Read More »
9 of 11 | Posted by: Cathy Edmondson - Friend

“Every encounter I had with Anita, and every story I heard about her, left me knowing that it was all about a bright, strong and proud woman. And...Read More »
10 of 11 | Posted by: Bill Pearce - Ankeny, IA - Friend

“My condolences to Kay and her family. I met Anita at the salon and always admired her. She was one classy lady! She was spunky, had fascinating...Read More »
11 of 11 | Posted by: Julie Burzette - Des Moines, IA


Wheat Emblem

Anita Hill-Kelly died peacefully in her sleep surrounded by family at her daughter's home on Tuesday following a year and a half of cancer challenges at the age of 83. Born in 1934 as one of seven children to Freeda and Ben Cook in Seymour, Missouri, Anita transplanted to Ankeny where she lived for over 50 years.

Anita left an impoverished home (her father passed when she was 10) with a friend at the age of fifteen and rode a bus to Kansas City to strike a life for herself. Did she ever. Once in Kansas City, Anita lied about her age to secure a job in a café and then in retail where she had no problem selling to those who had much more than her. It was in Kansas City in the 1950's that Anita secured an independence and business acumen which was exceedingly rare for a woman of the era. She overcame many challenges, transforming into the inspiration she was.

Once she moved to Ankeny, Iowa, Anita was not about to settle for ordinary. She then owned and operated Landmark Carwashes in Ankeny and Des Moines, owned and operated multiple area businesses as well as owned and rented out multiple properties. This was no ordinary woman.

Anita was a pioneer for women before it became political, a true matriarch, Anita was a successful businesswoman. Above all, Anita was a devoted parent, grandparent and great-grandparent.

Anita was preceded in death by her husband Steve Kelly and former husband Jack Hill, her parents Freeda and Ben, Sr., four siblings who reached adulthood, Freeda Elizabeth, Fred, Elston, and Jean.

Anita is survived by her only daughter Kay Oberender; Grandchildren, Jaime (Cory) McClure and Zac (Mitzi) Oberender; Great-grandchildren, Caden, Quinton and Piper as well as two brothers Phillip Cook and Ben Cook. Anita is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and other extended family.