More obituaries on Pages B5, B7
William E. “Wild Bill” Keller has “slipped the surly bonds of Earth and now es the skies on laughter-silvered wings.” He departed to join the great Formation in Heaven on Dec. 19, 2017. Bill was born on Nov. 19, 1946 in Ravenna, Ohio. In 1948 he and his parents moved to Mentor where he became a lifelong ident. He graduated from Mentor High School in 1964 and Adrian College with a B.A. degree in History/Political ence in 1968. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 1968. In 1970 Bill completed pilot training at Del Rio, Texas and became the first Mentor High School graduate to become an Air Force pilot. He served six years as a pilot of KC-135 air refueling tankers for the Strategic Air Command. In 1974, he was honorably discharged with the rank of captain. After owning his own auto body shop in Rapid City, South Dakota, he returned to Mentor in 1976 and graduated from Kent State University in 1977 with a B.S. gree in Elementary Education. He taught Grades two through six, primarily at Bellflower School for 25 years. During this time Bill earned a Master’s degree in Education from Kent State in 1984. He retired from teaching in 2002.
Living an involved life was Bill’s hobby. He loved building his G scale model train and building model planes. He was quite fond of riding his motorcycle through the back roads of Lake and Geauga Counties. He appreciated high mance and antique cars and was so proud to be a member of the Lake County Cruisers Car Club with his 1957 dusk rose Thunderbird. He loved his Cleveland Indians and Browns teams, but was extremely proud to be a Green Bay Packer owner, having purchased one share that got him a blade of grass at Lambeau Field.
His passion for history was immense, especially Civil War history. Bill was an advocate in the preservation of Civil War battlefields and was financially generous in saving these lands. During his lifetime he visited all 50 states at least twice, including most of the national parks. When asked what was the most important event of his life, he’d immediately answer, marrying my friend and true love, Virginia, because she opened my heart to love again and renewed my faith in God. They married on July 25, 1992.
Bill was preceded in death by his loving parents Ted R. and Geneva (Michener) Keller.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Virginia, cousin Mark (Mary) Duffy and their children Megan and Mitch (Jen) Duffy; Brother-in-law David (Beth) Brudapast; sister-in-law Roberta Brudapast nephew, Noah Brudapast, and niece Emily dapast.
A sincere thank you is extended to all staff at the Center for Dialysis Care who helped Bill on his journey through the dialysis process for the past ten years and to the Continuous Care Team of the Hospice of the Western Reserve.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 20, 2018 at the Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 8466 Mentor Ave., tor, OH 44060.
A memorial service and time of sharing memories of Bill will begin 6 p.m. Saturday, the 20th at the funeral home to conclude the celebration. Private family inurnment will be at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery, Rittman, OH at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Civil War Trust, 1140 Professional Court, Hagerstown, MD 21740 or to Hospice of the Western Reserve, 17876 St. Clair Avenue, Cleveland 44110-2602, donate online at www. hospicewr.org.
Please offer condolences at www.brunners.com