Ella Bates Kelley, 88, a former area resident who was named Catholic Mother of the Year in 1944, died of cancer Sunday in her home in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

She was the widow of Augustine B. Kelley, a Pennsylvania Democrat who served 17 years in the House of Representatives before his death in 1957.

Mrs. Kelley was named the "Catholic Mother of 1944" by the National Catholic Conference on Family Life. At the time she received the honor, she was the mother of the congressional family with the largest representation in the armed forces. Five of her sons were in the service, two of them serving overseas.

A native of Scottdale, Pa., Mrs. Kelley came to Washington following her husband's election in 1940.She lived in Washington before moving to Kenwood in 1946. She moved to Mechanicsburg in 1978 to live with a daughter, Marcella M. Brown.

In addition to her daughter of Mechanicsburg, Mrs. Kelley's survivors include two other daughters, Therese E. Leisy of Bethesda and Kathleen A. Schellenburg of Jacksonville, Fla.; six sons, A. Regis, of Bethesda, Robert V., of Bluefield, W. Va., Richard B., of Garrett Park, and retired Army Col. Paul A., J. Hilary, and James R., all of Greensburg, Pa.; 66 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions either to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, or to a charity of one's choice.