Dr. Ella Lee Kelley
  • 66 years old
  • Date of birth: Oct 5, 1948
  • Date of passing: Jul 9, 2015
Let the memory of Dr. Kelley be with us forever

This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Dr. Ella L. Kelley, 66, born on October 5, 1948 and passed away on July 9, 2015. We will remember her forever.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Diola Bagayoko on 5th October 2016

"Hi Ella:

This is your one and only husband Diola Bagayoko wishing you a happy birthday. Even though we can non longer do together, face to face, those things we used to do on your birthday, we certainly can wallow in the very fond memories and do everything in spirit.

Incidentally, I made a $365 donation to WRKF today, in your honor. At my surprise, they announced it on the radio during the 5 PM news and said that the gift was in your honor. I told the lady who took my call that you routinely told me to give $1 a day. Well, I did it again.

Our biological children and those of our extended family in the Dolores Margaret Richard Spikes Honors College are all doing very well. Of course, I am urging them to prepare themselves to be nationally competitive.

With infinite love,

Your Diola"

This tribute was added by Diola Bagayoko on 10th July 2016

"Hi Ella,

The response to your question as to "How are the children?" is that they are doing very well. I am in touch with Namory Djigui and Kelley Elizabeth and have news of William Chérif through social media.
On the first anniversary (July 9, 2016) of your transition to a well-deserved eternal felicity and beatitude, before I came to see you at the mausoleum, I talked to Namory, Courtney, and our grand children (the twin Ella Araminta and Nawali Bagayoko). Kelley and her husband Tim (Mr. Timothy Adams) spent this week with me here, in Baton Rouge. Your name sake is now walking (and talking) and her younger brother, Nawali, started to follow her steps!

Additionally, I have been serving as the interim dean (August -December, 2015) and as dean (January 2016 to present) of the Dolores Margaret Richard (D. M. R.) Spikes Honors College of which you were the Dean up to your retirement in June 2015. Hence, I have been taking a very good care of the children in our extended family. I managed to get a significant increase in funding in order for the D. M. R. Spikes Honors College to partake in state, regional, and national Honors college conferences. We made it up to the "sweet sixteen" in the Honda All Star Campus Challenge championship competition. Had it not been for an error in the organization, we would most likely have won the championship in the 2016 competition. So, please rest well, all the children are doing very well.

Diola Bagayoko, Ph.D.
Your proud husband whose only wife has been and will remain you, and you alone."

This tribute was added by Diola Bagayoko on 24th September 2015

"The Late Dr. Ella L. Kelley will be honored tomorrow, Friday, September 25, 2015, by the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE), with a Lifetime Achievement Award, posthumously. Dr. Kelley (Ella for me, her husband) has been a loyal member of NOBCChE as far back as I can remember. She regularly attended the national, annual conference of NOBCChE and actively partook in most activities of the local chapter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Dr. Kelley coordinated the Timbuktu Academy’s Science Bowl teams for close to a decade.  Ms. LaDeta Crowley, Mr. George Ware, and Dr. Kelley were the competent head coaches that trained these teams, with the assistance of some devoted parents, to multiple, national Science Bowl championships at annual conferences of NOBCChE. [Dr. Kelley co-founded (1990-91) and co-directed (1990-2015) the Timbuktu Academy; www.phys.subr.edu/timbuktu.htm]  As I write this note, I am looking at five (5) NOBCChE Science Bowl championship trophies won by senior teams of the Timbuktu Academy. A special mention is in order for the 2006 national NOBCChE Science Bowl competition where three senior teams of the Academy set a record that cannot be surpassed: They won the first, second, and third place Science Bowl Awards! Also on my desk are trophies for two first place awards earned by junior teams of the Academy.  Dr. Kelley loved to attend NOBCChE meetings, and that above all other conferences or gatherings – except, perhaps, the national conventions of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated! I still vividly recall her joy at the Centennial Celebration of Delta Sigma Theta, in Washington, D.C., in the company of her “Soror,” our daughter Attorney Kelley Elizabeth Bagayoko. Her love for NOBCChE was deeply rooted in the work of NOBCChE for the education, mentoring, and overall professional development of the next generation of scientists and engineers, with an emphasis on those who belong to under-represented groups, like African Americans.

Diola Bagayoko
the Proud Husband of the Late Dr. Ella L. Kelley"

This tribute was added by Evelyn Body on 19th July 2015

"Lighting a candle for you Cousin Ella Lee and all the other members of the Lillie Jackson Young family who have gone on to be with the Lord. Until we meet again..."

This tribute was added by Perpetua Muganda on 18th July 2015

"Dr. Kelley,  you are clearly a gem in this world, and we will forever miss you. You touched so many lives, both personally and professionally, including those of my two daughters who went through your programs and are now pursuing scientific careers.   You have made such a difference at Southern University, especially in the lives of the young people you empowered.  I especially enjoyed my membership in the women's investment club, and I am glad you reached out to me and invited me.  Rest in peace my dear friend.  I am sure the Lord is saying "Well Done, My Faithful Servant"."

This tribute was added by Mathieu Kourouma on 17th July 2015

"I had the privilege to work with Dr. Ella L. Kelley in the QEP committee for the SACS accreditation. We both were Co-Chairs. I was amazed and impressed by the professionalism, effectiveness, and cooperation of Dr. Kelley. Her composer and ability to help or assist, work, and communicate with people, Students, Faculty, Staff, and Administrators is unique and exceptional. I remember how she handled the SH and NS case for a student in one of my classes; it was professionally well handled and unbiased. Dr. Ella L. Kelley will always be missed. My deep condolences goes to the Bagayoko family and loved ones.

Dr. Mathieu Kourouma"

This tribute was added by patrick mensah on 17th July 2015

"Dr. Kelley's life illuminated and rekindled  the lives of many youths through the zeal and fortitude she used in developing, managing Timbuktu Academy and Honors College programs at Southern University. She will truly be missed. On a personal note I am thankful our paths crossed as her engagement of my children in Timbuktu academy programs has been instrumental for the success of my children in their STEM related careers. Let us remember her by continuing her life's work in fostering educational programs for  the success of underrepresented minorities in STEM."

This tribute was added by Wronetta Charles on 16th July 2015

"An Inspirational Lady!!

From the first moment I met Dr. Kelley during the summer of 1992 as a Summer Science Institute (SSI) participant, she has been a constant source of inspiration and encouragement to me.  When I chose nursing as my major and was no longer a SSI student, Dr. Kelley continued to keep her arms around me.  She assisted me with employment through work studies and also assisted me with becoming a summer counselor for SSI.....all of this and I was no longer a part of Timbuktu Academy as a student.

During my time at SU, she constantly embraced and congratulated me as I obtained both my BSN & MSN from there.  After a few years of me not visiting SU, I went back to let her know that I earned my doctorate.  Guess what?  She still remembered me by face and name with no reminders.  She was like a mom away from home.  Dr. Kelley, I will truly miss you and will really feel in empty space every time I go to SU because I know that one of the people whom I always visit when I make it back will no longer be there.  

May your light continue to shine brightly!!  You are certainly a gift from God.....an Angel that God allowed us to have here on Earth.  I am so sorry that our Angel has been called home, but I know you are in a great place.


Wronetta Charles
SSI 1992"

This tribute was added by Sumita Roy on 16th July 2015

"I had the honor of working with Dr.Kelley while serving on the SAACS Committe. I was inspired by her dedication, wisdom, attention to detail, and superb leadership skills. I believe I learned many useful skills from her. I am saddened to hear that she is no more. A tragic loss to all who knew her. My sincerest condolences to her family during this difficult time."

This tribute was added by Uchenna Mbadozie on 16th July 2015

"Dear Dr. Kelley, just as your light continues to shine in our lives, your memory will always remain in our hearts.
I was greatly saddened that you had to leave us so soon. You have been a strong positive role model for me since I became a student at SUBR, a source of inspiration; your kindness and support has been an oasis in my life. May GOD grant you eternal life. Amen."

This tribute was added by Taylor Washington on 15th July 2015

"I remember meeting Dr.Ella Kelley as a freshman at Southern University.  I was at my lowest point and struggling to stay a float financially. I was an out of state student as well as a Biology Major. Dr. Kelley immediately took me under her wing and placed me in the LS-LAMP program where I met Dr. Bagayoko. He always preached his Law Of Human Performance.....Every Seminar! Dr.Kelley's compassion and faith in me motivated me to strive and work hard no matter what! She told me never expect the worst always aim for the impossible. I love you and send my payers to your family

Taylor S. Washington Southern University and A&M College Class of 2017"

This tribute was added by Katrina Carter-Journet on 15th July 2015

"It is an unreal feeling anytime you lose someone who has been a part of your life. I met Dr. Kelley when I was in high school. My relationship with Dr. Kelley began with the Timbuktu Academy. I started with the Summer Science Institute and later the Summer Bridge Institute. Once I began my studies at Southern University, I was a part of the Timbuktu Academy as an undergraduate (majoring in physics). Dr. Kelley and Dr. Bagayoko expected and demanded excellence from students. You were pushed to discover yourselves as young adults, academics, and future professionals. Dr. Kelley was smart, humble, compassionate, and firm. She was a guiding force in the Timbuktu Academy. Dr. Kelley literally willed students to the next level and did not accept “I don’t know or I can’t.” I remember learning that “You must and you will.” I truly was blessed to be surrounded by educators who cared about whether or not you actually knew the information. It was not simply about just getting by or just having the accolades. It was about earning and deserving the right to have the accolades. I learned a lot and as I continue to grow, the more my perspective returns to where it all began and to the people who helped to shape it like Dr. Kelley. She has left a remarkable legacy behind as a powerful reminder of strength and character. To her loving family, you have my deepest condolences and my best wishes. Despite everything, there is still beauty in this moment because Dr. Kelley has been welcomed into God’s paradise. Be Blessed."

This tribute was added by Diana Kelly on 15th July 2015

"Dr. Kelley, I met you late in life; that was such an unfortunate thing for me.  You are a gentle, kind, caring soul--just the type of person that our students need.  You are such a loss for them.  Yet, God wants beautiful flowers, too.  He looked down over His garden and picked one of the most beautiful blooming flowers and selected you for a special place in His garden.  You are loved and will be dearly missed by all."

This tribute was added by Prince Eleeh on 15th July 2015

"Even in death, your legacy and the lives you impacted will stand as a testimony to your loving, caring, and nurturing nature. You were the first professor to take me under your guidance. As a freshman International student, I needed every bit of your mentorship and guidance to cope with my new environment. As a mentor, you were easily accessible and ready to listen. Enormous amount of effort were put in by you to address any challenges I may have had. You were a blessing throughout my years in SU. I am forever thankful and appreciative of  the impact you had in my life. You will be greatly missed. Continue to rest in the bosom of the Lord till we meet again. Adieu!"

This tribute was added by Fatemeh Malekian on 15th July 2015

"My dear Dr. Kelly I am still in shock.  I can not imagine not seeing you at the Southern University graduation ceremony.  The honor students that you referred to us at the Ag center have been the best. As a member of Early Risers Kiwanis I always admired your leadership , involvement and your care for humanity.   You were an inspiration to all of us specially the ladies in the club.   My dear Dr. Kelly I am going to miss you very much.  Rest in peace.  Love Fatemeh"

This tribute was added by Family & Friends on 15th July 2015

"More than just a professor
Shared by John White on 07/14/2015

I will always cherish the brief but impacting encounters that I shared with Dr. Kelley. She reminded me of my late grandmother in her guidance, leadership, intelligence, and motherly love. As a former student she challenged me to be the best I can be and more to do well in her chemistry class, which in turn helped me to do well during my remaining time at SU. I'm grateful for her genuine interest in our future endeavors and thankful for your help and encouragement to make our dreams a reality. God bless."

This tribute was added by Grace Namwamba on 14th July 2015

"Ella was a dear friend, a true inspiration, and a mentor.  She was a down to earth person who wanted to bring others closer to her. She always insisted that I call her Ella and would be reluctant to respond if I addressed her as Dr. Kelley.  This was because she wanted me to feel free in her presence and to regard her as a colleague and a friend in spite of her esteemed status as a highly accomplished senior faculty member.  She and her husband Dr. Bagayoko played a major role in my career advancement and personal growth.  She encouraged me to have a balanced life and to always view things positively.  Dr. Kelley helped mentor my son Zolile who at that time was a very shy high school student trying to find his way in life.  His time in Timbuktu Academy turned his life around. Today, he is on track to graduate from the SU Architecture Program in December 2015.  My family and I will be forever grateful for the time we had with her.  Ella, my dear friend, I will miss you greatly but I know that you are in a better place.  May your soul rest in eternal peace with our Savior Jesus Christ. Fulbert and I continue to keep Dr. Bagayoko and the rest if the family in our thoughts and prayers. May the Almighty God comfort you in this time of deep loss."

This tribute was added by Family & Friends on 14th July 2015

"My Guardian Angel at SU
Shared by amber jarrell on 07/14/2015

Dr. Kelley has greatly impacted my life as I pursued my degree at SU. I had the privilege of being one of her students in her general chemistry class during my freshman year in college. Even though I was a biology major she accepted me with open arms. Dr. Kelley was very interested in her students' career goals. She was aware I had aspirations of becoming a physician someday. One day after chemistry class she asked me what were my plans for the upcoming summer. At that time I didn't quite understand the extra steps I needed to take to become a competitive applicant for medical school. Dr. Kelley enforced the importance of remaining focused and keeping my eye on the  prize in the midst of my involvement on campus. She told me exactly who I needed to talk to in regards to summer enrichment programs. That same summer I had the opportunity of participating in the Summer Medical and Dental Education program at UT Houston. I know for a fact I would not have had the opportunity to participate in that life changing program without Dr. Kelley's advice and encouragement. Throughout my matriculation at SU she continued to provide guidance. She helped  me prepare for the MCAT and she even wrote a letter of recommendation to medical school on my behalf. Unfortunately, I never got the opportunity to tell her I finally got accepted into medical school and I will be starting this fall. I am forever grateful for the wisdom she has provided me throughout my academic endeavors. She pushed me towards my greatest potential when I didn't even know I could do it.  Dr. Kelley will surely be missed and her legacy at SU will live forever."

This tribute was added by Nusrat Naqvi on 14th July 2015


Your exit was so sudden and unexpected for me, I am still in a state of shock!  Our paths crossed on a daily basis between James and Lee Hall. College of Sciences meetings, programs, Center for Energy and Env. Studies' (CEES) engagements, my Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching Science LaSIP funded project of which you were an important and integral part, our forever association at the Honor's Day program, your support of my long-term Earth day's week-long, University-wide program and a host of other areas like Faculty senate are unforgettable!!!  I always had great admiration for your values, concurrence with your high standards and regard for our genuine friendship at all times during all these years until my retirement party at the BTR Crowne Plaza in 2011...after which we only met a few times.  I am very thankful for these years of enrichment and will treasure countless memories that I shared with you and your family!  May you achieve the highest rewards from God in the hereafter for your selfless services and genuine support of every worthy endeavor, Amen!!!!  Love...respect and appreciation."

This tribute was added by Family & Friends on 14th July 2015

"Final Arrangements Entrusted to:

Hall Davis & Sons Funeral Home
9348 Scenic Highway
Baton Rouge, LA 70807
(225) 778-1612

Friday, July 17th
Viewing - 1:00pm-5:00pm
Family Hour - 4:00pm-5:00pm
Wake and Reflections - 5:00pm - 7:00pm

Hall Davis & Sons
9348 Scenic Highway
Baton Rouge, LA 70807

Saturday, July 18th
Viewing - 10:00am-12:00pm
Omega Omega Service - 11:00am
Funeral Program - 12:00pm

Greater Mount Carmel Baptist Church
1414 Sora Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70807

Internment to follow immediately

Repast - 3:00pm

Baton Rouge Sigma Life Development Center
688 Harding Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70807"

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