Nov. 27, 1924 – Jan. 19, 2014
Robert Leroy Keller, 89, was born Nov. 27, 1924 in Lincoln, Nebr., to Heinrich and Amalia Keller, first-generation German immigrants from Russia. He was the second youngest of seven children, whose ages spanned 20 years, and was the last surviving member of his generation. His father was a cobbler who crafted fine shoes from scratch by hand. Theirs was a tight-knit, self-sufficient family with values and customs from the “old country” in Europe. English and German were both spoken in the home.
Bob served in the Army Air Corps as a pilot in World War II, and was certainly a part of the “Great Generation” that served this country honorably. He was a true patriot who deeply loved his country and worked to maintain its values and freedoms.
Following his discharge from the Army, he attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, earning a degree in business administration. There he was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity.
Immediately after his graduation, he moved to Southern California where he began work with State Farm Insurance, a job he kept for 45 years as an agency manager. During this time, Bob was somewhat of a pioneer in recruiting and training women to be State Farm agents. Three of these women are still active in the company today. He was beloved by his agents who often commented on how very lucky they were to have him as their manager. This sentiment, sent in a recent card, demonstrates the affection they all had for him: “I can’t believe we’ve lost Bob. The world just won’t be the same without him. He made such in impact on so many lives. I will forever be indebted to him for his confidence and encouragement.”
He was once awarded Boss of the Year in Glendale.
His loving wife of 60 years, Betty Love Boothe, was also a University of Nebraska Alumni. Ironically, they didn’t meet until both were living in Southern California. When Betty showed up in Bob’s insurance office to file an accident claim, she noticed the University of Nebraska diploma on the wall. And the rest is history!
Together they had three children: Robert, Bradley and Kimberly. His grandchildren – Christopher, Stephanie, Jessica, and Julianna – were absolutely a highlight of his life. Just last month he became a great grandfather with the birth of Sloane Aileen Keller.
Bob’s had a passion for maintaining family relationships – not only immediate family but also the larger circle of his siblings, nieces and nephews.
He actively participated in the life of everyone and was considered the patriarch of the Keller Klan. He was proactive about staying in touch and tangibly impacting the lives of his loved ones.
Whenever we think of Bob Keller, the first thing that comes to mind is his friendly, outgoing personality. No one stayed a stranger around him for long! He always encouraged and uplifted others with his great sense of humor, greeting all with a warm smile and usually a big hug. His sunny outlook was rarely clouded except for the times when his beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers were losing a football game! You could predict his mood based on the score of the game, and a shoe or two might be launched at the TV if they weren’t faring well!
One of his most interesting honors was being an admiral in the Nebraska Navy. Who knew? But, yes, it was an actual appointment to a real organization that he held with pride and a smile – and the family has the certificate on display in the foyer to prove it!
Bob was a 52-year member of La Cañada Presbyterian Church, serving faithfully over the years in many capacities, including a term on the session, one as a deacon, and a clipper.
Bob and Betty were members of the Oakmont Country Club. He was a great golf enthusiast and loved the game as well as the fellowship it provided with his friends.
Members of the Stardusters, Bob and Betty were legendary ballroom dancers – the kind that you wanted to stop and watch. Bob’s love of dancing and skill on the dance floor reached back into his early years in Nebraska; when the music started up his sisters loved knowing they could count on him if a dance partner was needed. All the women would always line up for their chance to dance with Bob Keller.
Bob was an exemplary father who took every opportunity to impart values and guidance for his children. He spent time as a Boy Scout leader when his sons were young, serving as a Cub Master and in various capacities at the Scout camps they attended. He also volunteered with the YMCA in Glendale and La Cañada, frequently spending a week at Camp Fox on Catalina Island with his sons.
They also spent time together on family vacations. Bob and Betty loved to travel. He especially loved the sense of adventure that enhanced his life through visiting many different countries, experiencing the culture and beauty. Often, they accompanied son Bob’s family with his four grandchildren on extended trips. Having Grandpa along was always their favorite part of the trip. He was a hero and a friend to each of them.
Bob Keller’s greatest joys were his family and friends. He was much loved, and will be greatly missed. He made the world a better place because he was in it. His passing will leave a void in our hearts, but he has left us with many happy memories, which will keep us smiling as we remember all he meant to us.
Memorial tribute on CrippenMortuary.com