Tanka Kelley

Obituary of Tanka Kelley

Tanka Kelley (maiden name Sulkoff) passed away very peacefully on Sunday January 30, 2022 around 11am. She will be buried Tuesday February 8th, after a service at St. Stephen Eastern Orthodox Church, right by our other family members that passed before her. Although the last few weeks were difficult, she didn't suffer much at all, which is a comfort to her family. Tanka was born January 1, 1939 in Indianapolis to Pete and Slava Sulkoff, who were born in Macedonia. Pete's parents were Mike and Sultana Sulkoff and Slava was born to Pando and Tarpa Boshkoff. Her parents called her Tanie most of the time. Pete and Slava were born in Macedonia and met here in Indianapolis, so Tanka was first generation and the first child they had. Her childhood was in the Haughville area of town and she grew up on Ketcham Street and had a very happy childhood with many friends, and she was kind of a "ringleader" to those friends and was a bit meschievious in a fun way. In the late 1950's they moved over to 2259 Kessler Blvd. North Drive and she went to H.S. at Ben Davis from which she graduated in 1957. After graduation, Tanka got a job at Allison as a secretary for her first job. She got married in June 1961 to her son's biological father and moved to Tacoma Washington as he was in the military. She came back on April 29th, exactly one month to the day her son Bobby was born, and that was the house he grew up in for the first 8 1/2 years of his life. She then got a job in the late 1960s at Sears at Lafayette Square and worked in the Personnel Dept. where she was held in high regard by her coworkers. In November 1970 she married Larry Kelley and they, along with Bobby moved up to W. 56th St. and Alton where Bobby went to Pike Township Schools. Larry's parents Jim and Louise Kelley took Tanka and Bobby close to their heart and thought of them no less than blood related family. Nadine Kelley, the wife of Larry's next oldest brother thought of Tanka as a sister, and Tanka thought of her as a sister as well. She and Larry put Bobby through college at Butler University where her brother Ted (Tody) graduated in 1964. Her cousin, George Kazacoff then graduated in 1974 then Bobby in 1984. You might say a "family tradition" in 10 year increments. Her final job before retiring was in the Human Resources Dept. at the Hoosier Dome...at the time. She and Larry built a home in Normandy Farms in the early/mid 1990s and she had a very happy life full of love from her family and friends. We were right across the street (driveway to driveway) with George Kazacoff and his parents Bill and Rhodna Kazacoff. Rhodna was exactly 10 years older than Tanka, as George was 10 years older than Bobby. George was "more" than a brother than 2nd cousin to Bobby and Rhodna (Tanka's mother's baby sister) was more like a playmate to Tanka. They were very close. Tanka was preceded in death by her parents Pete and Slava Sulkoff, her grandparents Pando, Tarpa, Mike and Sultana. She was named in honor of her Dad's mother Sutana. She was also preceded in death by her brother Ted (McTody) her aunt and uncle Rhodna and Bill Kazacoff. She is survied by her son Bobby, husband Larry, George Kazacoff and many relatives in Austrailia from her Dad's side of the family. Maria Barber was the daughter of John and his wife Christine, who was her father's nephew and looked so much like her father even down to the mannerisms. Mom thought of her like a daughter and they talked often. Maria (Husband Darren and son Gregory) has a sister named Fay and two brothers, Lonny and Tommy. Her family meant EVERYTHING to Tanka. She was a wonderful woman, mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend to many. She did so much for people, and she enjoyed every minute of that. We will miss her greatly (beyond words), but we know she is with the loved ones that went to heaven before, and she is in total peace. Knowing that is why her remaining loved ones will get through this difficult time. She will never be forgotten for a single moment by us. Mom - Rest in peace, I love you more than words can say and I know you will always be with me before I join you one day up in heaven...
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