Kelly Haines lost her nine month-long battle against cancer on Sunday, May 8th. She was 50. She is survived by her husband Robert, and her mother, Fontaine Armentrout.
Kelly was born in San Francisco to James Armentrout of Banks, OR and Fontaine Souder of Omaha, NE. She grew up in the Anza Vista neighborhood and attended Presidio Middle School and Washington High School. Kelly earned her Baccalaureate (with honors) in textile design at San Francisco State University and her Masters in philosophy at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She and her husband were married in Penzance, Cornwall and honeymooned for seven weeks throughout Great Britain. A skilled seamstress, she was married in a re-creation of Princess Grace's wedding dress, which she sewed by hand.
Kelly's vocations always followed her interests. She began at the art and antiques auction house Butterfield & Butterfield while she developed her eye and her knowledge of antiques. After a few years, she and Robert moved to rural Sonoma County and dealt in antiques. In 1996 they returned to San Francisco where Kelly pursued an interest in environmental issues, taking a position with the Trust for Public Land. While there, in 1996, fascinated by the embryonic internet, she taught herself web development and began designing and coding websites for clients during the first Dot-com boom. After the bust, she accepted a position at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco where she was the Docent Coordinator. From 2003 until her death, she co-owned and operated an estate liquidation service with her husband.
Her interests were many, but they included genealogy, through which she became an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America. She served the former as First Vice-Regent and the latter as the chairperson of the collection at the Dames' historic museum -- the Octagon House. She traced her ancestry to at least ten Patriots who served in the Revolutionary War and many who served in the Colonial governments before it. She also enjoyed participating on Find-a-Grave.com where she was always happy to take photographs of monuments for other people who were doing their own genealogical research.
Kelly was a true Japanophile, and loved spending time in Japan above all of the other places she visited. She was a student of the Japanese language and an enthusiastic cook of shoujin-ryori (Zen Buddhist temple cuisine). She studied Tea Ceremony of the Omotesenke School under Sekino Tsuruko-sensei. A related interest was in the ball-jointed, cast-resin dolls known as "Super Dollfie", made by the Japanese company Volks. She was one of the first American enthusiasts to discover the hobby, one of the first to visit the company's headquarters in Kyoto, and she organized the first convention for ball-jointed dolls in the US.
Kelly and her husband were childless by choice, but both loved cats and, in addition to their own two cats, Kelly volunteered with the SPCA in fund-raising and finding adoptive homes for cats. She was also a long-time donor to various animal welfare charities. Not coincidentally, she was a vegetarian for the last twenty years of her life, and refused to buy new leather, silk or wool products. This did not impair her insistence upon being well-dressed, as she had an extensive collection of vintage clothing, which was her trademark. A high point of her year was always attending the Gatsby Summer Picnic in Oakland, where hundreds of participants dress in 1920s and '30s finery. She enjoyed sewing and wearing reproductions of Regency-era clothing, and participating in Jane Austen Society balls, lectures and picnics. She did other needlework, including making Colonial-style cross-stitch samplers.
Further interests included reading and collecting books -- particularly nonfiction works on history and the arts -- collecting antiques (especially Federal and Georgian objects), visiting museums, picnicking, and sailing; she and her husband owned old wooden sailboats at various times in their marriage. She loved cycling and owned a number of vintage bicycles, including one that she brought with her to London for the 2012 Tweed Run, for which she was awarded "best bicycle". She also enjoyed city clubs and was a member of the University Club of San Francisco, and frequented private clubs in London and elsewhere. She was a long-time member of Filoli, of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and various other cultural organizations. She was also an avid attendee of the San Francisco Ballet, Symphony and Opera.
Despite being very health-conscious and fit, and having never smoked (or even been around smokers) Kelly was unexpectedly diagnosed with stage-IV lung cancer in August of 2015. After a month in the hospital while doctors labored to address the effects of many complications caused by the tumors, she was able to return home. She then devoted herself to founding a charitable organization to help educate the public on what she called "the invisible epidemic" of LCiNS (lung cancer in never-smokers) -- a disease that claims the lives of about 23,000 Americans each year, even though they have never smoked or been exposed to secondhand smoke. The LCiNS Awareness Project will soon to be active at www.lcins.org.
Kelly and her husband had just celebrated twenty-five years of happy marriage, three weeks before her death and were making plans to renew their vows.
She was laid to rest in the Bolinas Cemetery in Marin County, a cemetery that she and her husband had enjoyed visiting, and that fulfilled her final wish of being somewhere that the loudest sound was birdsong, and that was frequented by deer and other wildlife that she so loved.