Loretta May Swaffield was born on February 5, 1912 in Port Huron, St. Clair County, Michigan to John Benjamin Swaffield Sr. (1894-1965) and Pearl May Moore Swaffield (1895-1962).

She was later joined by four brothers: John Benjamin Swaffield Jr. (1913-1974), James R. Swaffield (1915-1977), Charles Herbert Swaffield (1917-1978), and Donald E. Swaffield (1923-1977).

Loretta graduated from Port Huron High School in 1930. She went to Wayne State University in Detroit to get her teaching degree.

On April 17, 1934 she married Howard Hugh “Pete” Kelley in Port Huron, Michigan. Pete was born February 13, 1913 in St. Clair County to Herbert Lee Kelley (1887-1945) and Ella Louise McCann Kelley (1892-1902). Their daughter Sherrie was born the next year.

Loretta began her teaching career teaching in the Port Huron school system.

In the late 1930s, Pete went to work for Hurd Lock in Almont and he and Loretta moved to Berlin Township in St. Clair County.

In the fall of 1947, Loretta was hired to teach the kindergarten class in Almont. She continued in that job until she retired in 1975.

The 1960 Almonte (yearbook) was dedicated to her.

The dedication read:

“It is the heartfelt wish of the Almonte Club to dedicate our yearbook to Mrs. Kelley, our beloved kindergarten teacher, who is always ready to help when we need her.

For the first time in school history every class has the distinction of having had its beginning days under her kind and guiding hand.

For this we extend out thanks and best wishes for her continued success.”

Pete worked for Hurd Lock until they left town in 1962. He then went to work for Bad Axe Products Company of Firestone in Bad Axe, Michigan. Unexpectedly on August 13, 1968, Pete passed away.

Loretta continued to teach kindergarten until her retirement in 1975. She was a member of the First Congregational Church, the Michigan Education Association, the Lapeer County Retired Teachers Association, and the Almont-Dryden Order of the Eastern Star #172.

Loretta died on February 23, 1995 in Almont. She and Pete were buried in the East Berlin Cemetery in Berlin Township.

Copies of the Almont Historical Society’s various books can be purchased by contacting Jim Wade at 810-796-3355 or jrwade49@gmail.com or stopping by the museum on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m.