Passings: Saliann Kelly Siwulec, 61; Art Educator

Saliann (Sal) Kelly Siwulec lived a beautiful, loving and creative life. She was born in Norfolk, Virginia on May 6, 1956, where her dad was stationed in the Navy. She passed away on Thursday, December 14, 2017, in Morristown, New Jersey, from complications related to a long battle with sinus cancer. 

Sal’s brilliant smile was contagious. She was an amazing person whose kindness, optimism and humor touched everyone she met.

Sal, who had resided for more than 17 years in Pacific Palisades with her husband and daughter, chose to live each day to the fullest and faced her illness with extraordinary strength and courage.

In November, she was on the East Coast to see her daughter Claire’s dance performance at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and to celebrate Thanksgiving with Claire, her parents, siblings, nieces and nephews in Morristown.

Saliann (Sal) Kelly Siwulec

After growing up in Michigan, Sal graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. She then moved to California where she met and married her beloved husband, Dan. They were blessed with one daughter, Claire, who was the light of Sal’s life. 

Sal, Dan and Claire lived in Pacific Palisades during the school year and in Good Hart, Michigan, during the summer months.

Sal was a gifted arts educator and for more than a decade every student who attended Palisades Charter Elementary School experienced art residencies with Sal, who taught Art Cadre. 

Sal also worked for the nonprofit, Art Trek, which brings art education to underserved classrooms. Sal’s creativity extended into everything she did – building sets for Claire’s dance studio, teaching art “classes” and art parties to neighbors and to her many nieces and nephews, and teaching workshops at Three Pines Studio in Cross Village, Michigan. Her entire garage is overflowing with her many art projects and supplies.

Sal was a loving mother, spouse, daughter, sister and friend. She is survived by Dan, Claire and her parents, Ann Kelly of Birmingham, Michigan, and Tom Kelly of Atlanta, Georgia. She is also survived by her siblings and their spouses, Clay and Elaine Kelly of Birmingham; Beth and Ralph Richardson of Mission Hills, Kansas; Gordon and Karen Kelly of Fort Worth, Texas; and Molly and Mike Servais of Morristown; her adored nieces and nephews, Kelly, Katy, Connor, Eliza, Elliot, Anna, Sam, Ryan and Maggie; and many incredible friends.

A service celebrating Sal’s life will be held at the Community United Methodist Church of Pacific Palisades on Saturday, January 13 at 2 p.m., with a reception immediately following. Please do not wear black to the service; the family wishes to celebrate Sal’s life with vibrant colors that she loved.  

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Art Trek, visit:


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