Raymond C. Keller
Raymond C. Keller, 101, of Hayesville, passed away Thursday, June 29, 2017 in a Murphy care facility.
Mr. Keller was born April 17, 1916 in Largo, Fla., the only boy of four siblings. He worked mornings, evenings and on school lunch hours to help his dad with farm chores, which included milking 20 cows twice a day — by hand.
Mr. Keller graduated from Rockfield High School near Bowling Green, Ky. in 1934. There were six in his graduating class. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served his country from 1935 to 1939. Following his honorable discharge, he went to work in the Carnegie Steel Company in Charleston, W.V., where he learned metallurgy on the job and helped manufacture steel plating for the United States Navy’s battleships during World War II, until the plant closed in 1947.
In 1947, Mr. Keller moved his family to Saint Petersburg, Fla. where he found work on the Bee Line Ferry, which transported passengers and automobiles from Pinellas County to Manatee County across Tampa Bay, prior to construction of the first Sunshine Skyway Bridge in the 1950s.
Mr. Keller retired to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina in 1982, where his passion was farming. He had four acres of blueberries, which he opened to the public every July for picking. He enjoyed cultivating his blueberries, apple, peach and cherry trees; and planting corn, beans, onions, okra, squash, peas and tomatoes. He served the Lord as a faithful member of the Warne Church of Christ for more than twenty years. He says he has been blessed by the Lord beyond belief.
He was the son of the late Peter Cooper and Evalyn Westbrook Keller and the husband of the late Margaret “Bobbi” Keller, who died Aug. 23,1999. He was also preceded in death by two sons, Andrew and Stephen Keller; a granddaughter, Krista Rebecca Gray; and three sisters, Elizabeth Wheeler, Hazel Hicks and Dorothy Lee.
Surviving are a daughter, Evelyn Rebecca Keller, of Hayesville; a daughter-in-law, Darlene Keller, of Maitland, Fla.; and two great-grandchildren, Taylore Lee Mahon and Noah Aron-Keller Gray.
Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 9 in the Chapel of Ivie Funeral Home, Hayesville with the Rev. Sakkie Pretorius officiating. The interment will be in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens with military grave side rites conducted by the Hayesville VFW Post 6812, American Legion Post 532, Murphy DAV Chapter 73, American Legion Post 96 and the Marine Corps League Cherokee Detachment 1011. Pallbearers will be Ron Arnold, John McCain, Scott Ferguson, Tom Grant, Dean Morris and Greg Kuzma.
The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Saturday, July 8 at the Ivie Funeral Home, Hayesville.
Ivie Funeral Home, Hayesville: www.iviefuneralhomeinc.com is in charge of all arrangements.