Leo Frank Keller
Leo Frank Keller, age 87, died on Monday November 5, 2012, at Hillcrest Birchwood Retirement Center.
He was born in Fairfield, Iowa, to John Edward Keller and Grace Heisel Keller on March 27, 1925, the third of four sons, including Lloyd Keller, Leland Keller, and Robert Keller. Raised during the Depression in a wonderful Christian environment, he was known for his dedication and loyalty to his fellow man and love for God. His spirit was apparent to anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. He was known for his humor and generosity. Those who met him felt immediately at home and reluctant to leave.
As a patriot he served in the U.S. Army during WWII and continued as a National Guard reservist.
He attended college at Parsons College in Fairfield and received his engineering degree from the University of California at Long Beach. After completing his degree he was promoted to senior design engineer in the aerospace industry and designed the instrument panel for the first Apollo Spacecraft. For this he received the Neil Armstrong award.
In his first marriage to Jacqueline Parsons Keller, he had three children Karla, Carol and Mike.
In 1968 he married Donna McGeein and joined families with her seven children, Ken, Karyl, Donna, Jill, Jack, Mary and Jim. They enjoyed entertaining and large family gatherings and were never happier than when surrounded by family and friends. Donna passed away in July of 2012.
Leo and Donna opened a successful sheet metal business in Long Beach, California. When asked what his hobby is, Leo always answered “work.” He truly loved working and made the workplace a pleasure for his employees and associates.
After “retiring” to Bozeman, Montana, Leo and Donna purchased the Lazy K Ranch and remained active by raising chickens, bulls, cattle and sheep until Leo was 85. He loved participating in church functions, especially serving lunch to the MSU students on Friday and spending time at the Bozeman Senior Center.
As an avid football fan, the MSU Bobcats were “his team” and he seldom missed a home game.
His lifelong love of ice cream was evidenced by the gallons and gallons of ice cream in his two home freezers. He served it to the lunch group, his dog, and anyone visiting his ranch.
He and his beloved wife, Donna, were active members of the Resurrection Catholic Church, the Republican Committee and Knights of Columbus.
Survivors include: his three children, Karla (Shelby) Ahart of North Little Rock, Ark.; Carol Keller of San Luis Obispo, Calif.; and Mike (Tanya) Keller of Big Timber, MT. In addition to these, he is survived by a brother, Robert (Betty) Keller of Fairfield, Iowa, Donna’s seven children, Ken McGeein of Laguna Woods, Calif.; Karyl (John) Mannelly of Minden, Nev.; Donna (Ed) Dickey of Corvallis, Ore.; Jill McGeein of Gardnerville, Nev.; Jack (Liz) McGeein of Gardnerville, Nev.; Mary McGeein of San Francisco, Ca; and Jim McGeein of Bozeman, 25 grandchildren, 24 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Grace Keller; his wife, Donna, his brothers, Lloyd (Vauncil) Keller, and Leland (Dorothy) Keller.
Visitation, Rosary and Vigil will be held on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, at 5:30 p.m. at Dahl Funeral Chapel. Catholic Funeral Mass led by Father Val Zdilla will be held on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, at 10 am at Resurrection University Catholic Parish, followed by a luncheon for all. Graveside services will be held on Thursday, November 15, 2012, at 10:00 at Sunset Hills Cemetery with military honors.
Memorial contributions may be made in Leo’s name to the Bozeman Senior Center, 807 N. Tracy, Bozeman, MT 59715.