Village missing Keller since ‘97

Reprinted by Debbi Young - Mechanicsburg Public Library

Reprinted from The Telegram, Dec. 10, 1997

“Mechanicsburg loses friend in Keller”

By Dean Shipley

Telegram Staff Writer

If Mechanicsburg residents held “a Thomas Jefferson” or “a Susan B. Anthony” in their hands, they knew Waite Keller had been around. It might be a while before either is spotted again in town.

Keller, one of Mechanicsburg’s leading citizens died Dec. 3 after a brief illness. He was 82.

According to long-time friend, Bob Creamer, 69, Keller had something of a currency trademark easily recognized by Mechanicsburg citizens and merchants. Creamer said whenever Keller purchased something, he would often pay for it with $2 bills or Susan B. Anthony dollar coins.

“If it would show up in your change, you could assume Waite had been there before you,” Creamer said. “It was one of the things he liked to do.” Keller did a great deal in Mechanicsburg, but went about it in his own quiet way.

“He was quietly generous and supportive of many activities in Mechanicsburg. They (Keller and his wife, Kay) were very much involved in the community,” Creamer said.

Though quiet and unobtrusive about many activities in which he was involved, Keller was a visible and dyed-in-the-wool, flag-flying patriot. This decorated veteran of World War II encouraged residents to display Old Glory on holidays.

“Waite was always trying to get people to put flags up on the national holidays,” said John Wing, long-time friend. Keller would travel up and down the streets of Mechanicsburg and count the flags displayed. He would report his results to The Telegram.

He also visited the local cemetery and decorated veterans’ graves with flags for the national holidays.

He also had compassion for others less fortunate than himself. Lewis Culp, a long-time friend said, when raffles of grocery baskets took place, Keller would buy a block of tickets and write the names of others on the tickets and write the names of others on the tickets; never his own.

One of his longest and most recent tenures was that of the Goshen Memorial Park board. Just within the last six months did Keller pass on his seat to Mary Culp, Lewis’ wife.

“We’ve had a lovely and successful park and Waite was a part of that ongoing process of keeping it open and available to the public,” said Bob Creamer, friend of Keller’s and life-long Mechanicsburg resident. Keller served on the park board 35 years.

Keller owned and operated the Keller Co., a packaged medicine business that his father, Charles Keller, started. Keller and his late brother Phil, took over the business in the 1941. He is also a founder of the Mechanicsburg Lions Club.

Keller also served on the Goshen Park Board, was a 50-year member of the Masons and was active in his church and local historical organizations, among other community activities.

Obituary reprinted from The Telegram, Dec. 10, 1997


Waite Keller, 82, of Mechanicsburg, died Dec. 3, 1997 at 9:50 p.m. in McAuley Center, Urbana.

Born Nov. 27, 1915 in Madison County, the son of the late Charles F. and Ethel (Phellis) Keller.

Waite was the owner of the Keller Company of Mechanicsburg, a very active member of the Church of Our Saviour, Mechanicsburg where he served as treasurer and vestry man; past president of the Mechanicsburg Lions Club; Scout master of Troop No. 49 for over 40 years; 50 year member of Mechanicsburg Lodge No.113 F & AM; 50 year member of Royal Arch Masons of Urbana; Army veteran of World War II receiving the Purple Heart, European Theater Ribbon with five Bronze Stars, American Defense Medal; past commander of American Legion Post No. 238 and V.F.W. Post No. 9034 of Mechanicsburg; a 35 year member of the Mechanicsburg Park Board; director of the Senior Center; member of the Champaign County Historical Society and the Champaign County Preservation Alliance.

Survivors include wife, Kay (Miller) Keller whom he married March 13, 1948 in Columbus; daughter, Pat (Glen) Turpening; son, Tom Keller; grandson, Michael Denham, all of Cincinnati; sister, Ruth Slaughter of London; nieces and nephews.

Preceded in death by his parents; brother, Phil Keller.

Funeral service was held at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Church of Our Saviour, Mechanicsburg, with the Rev. John Good officiating. Interment followed in Maple Grove Cemetery, Mechanicsburg.

The family received friends on Friday in the SKILLMAN-MCDONALD FUNERAL HOME, Mechanicsburg with Masonic Services held 8 p.m., Dec. 5.

Contributions may be made to the Church of Our Saviour.

Reprinted by Debbi Young

Mechanicsburg Public Library