Kelly Knight Low has been described as “the spirit of the Boys and Girls Clubs,” and all those who knew her at the clubs and in the community wholeheartedly agree with that.
That spirit lives on in memories after her death Wednesday at Sutter Tracy Community Hospital after a short illness. She was 55.
A memorial service will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Portuguese Hall.
“Kelly’s whole passion was the Boys and Girls Clubs,” said Frances Mizuno, a longtime board member who now serves as board president. “Kelly touched the lives of everyone involved, from kids, staff members and board members. She was an important part of the extended family.”
Mizuno said Low’s dedication to the Boys and Girls Club extended far into the community as director of resource development.
She served on the staff for more than 10 years, with primary responsibility for generating financial and other support for the six club locations with an annual budget of $1.6 million.
She also performed countless other tasks, whenever and however needed, at the main office on Lowell Avenue, said Kelly Wilson, the organization’s chief professional officer.
“Kelly was just so much more than an employee. Her heart was in the club, and she had such a tremendous spirit,” Wilson said.
Wilson noted that the two Kellys worked closely together on all of the clubs’ programs and projects, adding: “There wasn’t a child’s need that she didn’t work to fill.”
Linda Turner — who with her husband, Keena, has worked closely with Low for a decade in organizing the annual Keena Turner Golf Tournament, a major club fundraiser — remembers her many planning meetings with Low.
“We met almost weekly over four or five months, and we became really good friends,” Turner said. “She was just so smart, talented and committed to the Boys and Girls Clubs.”
She said Low was “so at ease” with everyone she worked with at the Boys and Girls Clubs — children of every age, people on the staff and sponsors.
“She was a truly a special person, and she so loved that place and what it is doing for all those kids,” she said.
Kelly Knight Low was born in Detroit, the oldest of six children.
While attending the University of Michigan, she was an emergency medical technician and firefighter.
She moved to the Silicon Valley in 1991 and worked in the semiconductor industry, becoming director of sales for Sony Semi-conductor.
The family moved to Tracy in 2000, and she joined the Boys and Girls Clubs staff in October 2003.
Survivors include her husband, Jeff Low, and a daughter, Katie Low, both of Tracy.
The family prefers memorial contributions in Mrs. Low’s name to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tracy, 753 W. Lowell Ave., Tracy, CA 95376.