Humble, kind, bright, dedicated and generous are words that just scratch the surface when describing longtime Butterfield resident Mitsuko “Mitsy” I. Barnes-Kellam. Born in Toyama, Japan in 1931, Mitsy survived a childhood marked by the horrors of World War II – and following the death of both parents, she came to study in the United States. She attended San Francisco State College and San Jose State College in California. Later, she received a Master of Sciences degree in nutrition and dietetics from Loma Linda University and a Ph.D. in human nutrition from the University of Wisconsin. After teaching at Texas Tech University, she eventually joined the faculty at the University of Arkansas, where a fascinating personal collection of papers and memorabilia pertaining to her remarkable lifetime of professional and volunteer work are permanently housed with the University Libraries archives.
Mitsy willingly and frequently shared both her time and resources to support the betterment of her community. She helped seniors with tax preparation through the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and passionately supported the work and programming of both Shiloh Museum of the Ozarks and the Jones Center for Families. She formed a BTV Dulcimer Group as an extension of her love of music, coordinated Butterfield’s evening worship schedule and was an active member of Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville. Mitsy also established an international student scholarship, helping to ensure others would go on to achieve their higher education goals.
Mitsy was married twice, first to Owen Barnes and then to Ray A. Kellam. She asked that the charitable bequests she arranged to follow her passing be given in loving memory and recognition of both of them. Mitsy died at age 91 on March 29, 2022, and one of her multiple gifts was directed to the Butterfield Trail Village Foundation. A significant portion of those funds will be used to help support the BTV Special Care Center remodel project, to be completed in 2023. Butterfield is honored by Mitsy’s generosity and thankful for her gift that will enhance the quality of life for residents now and in the future.