Mary Jo Chelf

Mary Jo Chelf

April 7, 1955 – June 8, 2020


Survived by husband, Steven W. Chelf; daughter, Kim (Dan) Haymes; granddaughter, Isla Jo; sisters, Ann (John) Ring and Jane; nephew, Ian Ring (Nicole Heine); and niece, Megan (Aaron) Robertson.

CELEBRATION OF LIFE and TIME OF SHARING: Saturday, June 27th, 2pm, at the West Center Chapel.  ENTOMBMENT: St. John Mausoleum.  Memorials are suggested to the Nebraska Humane Society.


Mary Jo Chelf was born to Walter and Theresa Kempnich on April 7, 1955.  She passed peacefully at home on June 8, 2020, after fighting a determined battle against cancer.

Mary Jo was the oldest of three daughters, and she grew up with numerous cousins living nearby.  She attended St. Bernadette’s School, and then graduated from Gross High School, after which she began working at Mutual of Omaha.  Soon, though, she would be hired at Northwestern Bell, where she would work until retirement.

It was there she met Steve, and they were married in 1984.  Daughter Kimberly was born two years later.  Shortly after Mary Jo retired, she began working part time at Petsmart, just so she could be around and meet some animals. Mary Jo loved all animals…..except snakes, as she was always quick to add.

She loved going out to dinner or having a grilled steak at home.  She attended Omaha’s Summer Arts Festival every year, and recently the Iowa State Fair became another tradition.  She loved meeting her friends for coffee or cosmos, or just watching football games in the garage. She fell in love with Hawaii during a recent trip to Kauai (where pic was taken) and was hoping to return some day.

Mary Jo was a loyal and generous friend, a loving wife, devoted mother, delightful mother-in-law, and — just last year — proud grandmother.  She is survived by her husband, Steve; daughter, Kim (Dan) Haymes; granddaughter, Isla Jo; sisters, Ann (John) Ring and Jane; nephew, Ian Ring (Nicole Heine); and niece, Megan (Aaron) Robertson.


  • Kim and Stephanie Dickmeyer Posted June 9, 2020 10:58 am

    Dear Chelf Family,
    We are so sorry to hear you’ve lost your Mary Jo. May the good Lord comfort and keep each and every one of you. Our thoughts and sympathies are with you at this very tough time.
    Kim and Stephanie Dickmeyer and the Beta Sig Brothers.
    Friends of Kris

  • Hayl, Dan, and Magnolia Bergeland Posted June 9, 2020 4:19 pm

    Our deepest condolences and love. We are here for you in any way you need us.

  • Theresa Kremer Posted June 9, 2020 4:34 pm

    Steve and Kim
    Condolences on the untimely loss of your wife and mother, Mary Jo. I pray that during this time of grief that you feel the love of our Lord, bring you peace and solace.
    Comfort and prayers to you,
    Theresa Kremer
    (Friend of Naomi Karnish)

  • Jack Posted June 9, 2020 7:39 pm

    I worked with Maryjo for about 4 years and she was without a doubt the sweetest nicest person I ever knew

  • Sue Buras Posted June 10, 2020 6:57 am

    I am so sorry for your loss of Mary Jo. I remember her from the phone company, and she really was a sweet person.

  • Elbert Hannah Posted June 10, 2020 1:13 pm

    Mary Jo was one of those special people; funny, loving, proud, and wife of a very best friend. Steve, we are sorry for your loss of Mary Jo. Kim, we are sorry for your loss. We are thinking of all of you and treasure our memories of Mary Jo.

  • Terri Ross Posted June 10, 2020 9:11 pm

    May God bless you thru this most difficult time. I have known MaryJo nearly all my life. As kids, t hru high school.then at the phone company. Absolutely loved her soft spirited and funny nature. Prayers!!

  • Patti Krejci Posted June 11, 2020 10:28 am

    So sorry to hear about Mary Jo; I first met her in high school and stayed in touch with her through our careers at CenturyLink. Mary Jo was always a sweet person to be around;keeping her and her family and friends in my prayers.

  • Don & Mary Assmann Posted June 11, 2020 8:13 pm

    I worked in the same office as Mary Jo for many years. She was well liked and admired. May your memories give you peace. co-worker Mary Assmann

  • Mike and Tudy Fosmer Posted June 12, 2020 9:36 am

    Steve, Kim, Dan and Isla Jo,

    We share your grief.

    MJ was sweet, kind, positive and thoughtful. She was lover of animals and never failed to ask about our cat. She was a big Husker fan and we shared many happy memories watching the games.

    We’ll miss that signature Mary Jo chuckle. We just loved her.

    Mike and Tudy

  • Cindy Rawlings Posted June 22, 2020 10:32 am

    I worked with Mary Jo at the phone company. She was gorgeous, funny and always brought sunshine into a room.

  • Kaye Loland Posted June 23, 2020 10:10 am

    Mary Jo was a very special person. I had the pleasure of sitting by her at work and she had such a wonderful sense of humor. God Bless you, Mary Jo! I would like to offer my condolences to her family.

  • Lorraine Street Posted June 26, 2020 7:13 am

    Steve, I hope you remember me from the telephone company many years ago when we worked together. I am sorry for the loss of your wife, and I noticed your mother passed away just a few weeks ago. That is a lot to process and grieve. May you seek out the comfort that only God can provide.

  • Katy White Posted July 14, 2020 7:33 am

    Chelf Family,
    I had the pleasure of working with Mary at Petsmart for a few years and anytime I would get to see in her in passing or work with her was a good day. She was always so kind and caring but she also had a great sense of humor and wouldn’t take any crap from rude customers! She never failed to make me smile and laugh each day I saw her. I am so glad to see she got to meet her granddaughter as she always talked about her family and of course, her cat! I pray that all of the good memories surround you and provide comfort for you during this time. God Bless!

    Katy White

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