Margaret Michael Debranski Kelhart

Published 5:06 pm Monday, August 29, 2022

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Margaret “Megan” Michael Debranski Kelhart, loving mother, wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt and friend passed away peacefully on Aug. 19, 2022, after a fierce and heroic battle with cancer. Megan was 46 years old.

Megan was born on Dec. 2, 1975, in Norfolk. She graduated from Lakeland High School (1994) where she was a brilliant student and standout tennis player on the girls’ State Champion Tennis Team.  She was also a cheerleader, member of the school band and, she would reluctantly confess, prom queen. Megan studied political science at Virginia Tech (1999) where she was an active member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and went on to earn her Master of Science degree in Natural Resources at Virginia Tech as well. Megan was absolutely committed to making a difference in the world and had an extremely successful career with the United States Department of Interior where she was deeply respected for her work with the U.S. Congress.  

Megan met her husband Matthew in 2001 while both worked in the United States Senate, playing in the Senate summer softball league.  Megan and Matthew married on Oct. 25, 2003, and they spent the next 18 and a half years building a beautiful life and family together while traveling the world.  They were a perfect match, sharing a love of practically everything, but especially college football, European travel and Italian wine and food.  It was their shared love of travel which led Matthew to pursue a job in Germany which gave them the opportunity to experience everything there was to see and do in Europe for the two years they lived there.

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On Feb. 1, 2009, Megan and her husband welcomed Matteson Michael Donnan Kelhart. Matthew will happily retell the story of how he held Matteson, who was at the time no more than six minutes old, and whispered to him “buddy, you don’t know how lucky you are that you got your mama’s looks.”  Matteson was Megan’s world and, while Megan was a truly remarkable friend and wife, it was as a mother where her grace and selflessness were on display.  Her boys meant everything to her and she unapologetically prioritized them above all else.  Megan passed on to Matteson her passion for reading, her fanatical dedication to her Virginia Tech Hokies, her love of travel, and her unwavering loyalty and integrity.

Megan is survived by her husband Matthew and their son Matteson of Alexandria; father, Dr. Michael Debranski and mother, Margaret Debranski of Suffolk; grandmother, Margaret

Beamon of Suffolk; father-in-law and his wife, Joseph and Lily Kelhart of Bethlehem, Penn.; and mother-in-law and her husband Terri and Joseph Costa of Perkasie, Penn. She is also survived by her uncle, George Donnan Beamon (and Kim) of Chesapeake; her aunt, Mary Sipple Beamon Mouden of Maumelle, Ark.; uncle, Ronald Debranski (and Kay) of Woodstock,

Ga.; aunt, Donnan Chancellor Wintermute of Alexandria as well as many, much-loved cousins. Megan was preceded in death by her sister, Mary Donnan Debranski.

There will be a memorial service at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15, at R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory, 509 W. Washington St. with a reception to follow. Condolences may be registered at

The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Megan’s name to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation ( Megan lived to make a difference and it would bring her joy knowing that her passing could lead to positive change.