The Last Word… with Kelly Groce

By Kelly Melang, with Brooke Eagle

1) What was your first job? What was an important life skill you learned from it?

I went into the Air Force when I was 17 years old. I learned everything about being on my own while in the Air Force, including how to sew a button (they gave each of us a sewing kit).

2) What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to follow my big brother Levi’s footsteps, which is how I ended up joining the Air Force.

3) What is your favorite thing about Winston-Salem?

I like a lot of things about Winston-Salem. I was born in Old Salem and remember being five or six years old, peeking in the window at the original Krispy Kreme store. They would feel sorry for me and give me a doughnut.

4) Name someone you admire and why?

I admire my daughter, Keela. She sets her mind to do something…and she is going to do it. She is a go-getter in every aspect of her life, and I admire her for that and many other things!

5) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I would go back to Japan. I was there for two and a half years from 1952-1955. When I was there, Japan had dirt roads, and people used the bathroom on the streets…I know Japan is totally different now, so it would be really interesting to see all the changes.

6) What is your favorite home cooked family meal?

On Sundays when I was a child, my mother would kill a chicken, and we would eat chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn…if you knew my mother, you wouldn’t believe she could kill a chicken like she did…but that was how she was raised, and that’s what she did every Sunday to feed her family.

7) What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your life?

My mother always told me that we should always do the right thing, and that you’ll always know what the right thing is.

8) What is your favorite trail for walking/biking/running in the Winston-Salem area?  

Tanglewood is my favorite, but I also enjoy going to Salem Lake.

9) What are your hobbies?

I enjoy jogging at Tanglewood. I also like to watch golf, football, basketball and NASCAR on TV.

10) What is the perfect retirement age, and why? 

I retired at 58 because I had to…but I would’ve worked longer if I could! I’m not technically retired now, but delivering magazines is definitely a job — a fun job most days!