Renee Anna de Kelaita died peacefully on April 29, 2020, in Burbank, California, at the age of 73. She was born on August 26, 1946, to Joash and Christina de Kelaita.
Her father was a deacon with the Assyrian Church of the East. Renee grew up on the family vineyard in Denair, California, with her hard-working parents and five siblings.
She graduated from Denair High School in 1964, where she participated in student government and the yearbook committee. She attended Modesto Junior College and California State University, Fresno.
Renee had a wonderful sense of humor. She loved the performing arts, poetry, Tai Chi, and music. In the 1970s, she was a member of a theater troupe in Eugene Oregon, the Independent Theater Company. She played Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, and appeared in many other vignettes and short plays.
She also wrote poems under the pseudonym, Anna Kelaita. Renee worked as a legal secretary, raising her daughter and son in southern California. After her children left home, Renee returned to the family farm in Denair, to help care for her mother.
In 2011, she returned to Los Angeles, to receive care from family after she began suffering from early onset dementia. She was a loving daughter, mother, sister, and friend. We lost her too soon, and she will be deeply missed. Renee is survived by her daughter, son, five grandchildren, three sisters, and two brothers.
Here is Renee’s description of her life, in her own words, found among her writings: “Spent childhood running through small vineyards in California. Educated in performing arts and literature. Enjoyed the ‘awakening’ years in Berkeley. Spent many days walking the forested wilderness of California, Oregon, and Canada. Moved with my children to Los Angeles where I began writing: Inspired by dreams, greatly loved friends and those distinct moments that leave unforgettable marks on our lives.”
Renee’s family plans to lay her to rest on Friday, May 8, 2020, with a private family service. Flowers may be sent to Allen Mortuary, 247 North Broadway, Turlock, California, 95380.