Cover photo for Eugene Leonard Keller's Obituary
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1924 Eugene 2016

Eugene Leonard Keller

October 4, 1924 — February 15, 2016

Eugene L. Keller of Kalamazoo passed away, Monday, February 15, 2016 at Crystal Woods Assisted living. Eugene was born on October 4, 1924 at St. Charles Hospital, Bend, Oregon. The son of Frank and Emily Mae (Hall) Keller. He lived for 3 years on the Chiliquin Oregon Indian Reservation in Chiliquin, Oregon. Eugene graduated from Muskegon Heights High School after returning from WW II in 1946. He then attended and graduated from Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Eugene Joined the U.S. Marines on November 23, 1941 and served in the 1st Marine Division, where he made landings on Guadalcanal Island, Cape Gloucester, New Britain and Peleliu Island, where he was wounded. His best friend was wounded at the same time and because he had been overseas for 2 and half years, he was going home, so his buddy asked that he stop in Chicago to see his parents. It was there that he met his bride to be. They were married at Great Lakes Poor Souls Chapel on May 12, 1945. While living in Chicago, Gene became active in show business, performed for several years as a song and dance man. Gene did several shows at the State Theatre, performing with several named performers. He worked for McDonald’s Drive In Systems, in Chicago when there were only 12 stores. He was in partnership in Muskegon, in two McDonald’s Drive Ins. He worked for Western Michigan University as a dining room supervisor for 20 years, retiring in 1989. He has been active as a volunteer in numerous organizations and he was the proudest of being the curator of the Guadalcanal Memorial Museum. He was past president of the Guadalcanal Campaign Veterans and Secretary for 6 years. He was active in the Marine Corps League, Kalamazoo Detachment. He was on the board of the Portage Senior Center and Portage Cable Vision. Preceded in death by, Wife; Rita M. Keller(Zimmerman), Son; Eugene Keller Jr., Brother; Weslie Keller, Leslie Keller. He is survived by Sons; Joseph(Kathy) D. Keller of Rockford, MI, Steven(Linda) L. Keller of Portland, OR, Mark (Kathy Jo) A. Keller of Portage, MI, Daughter; Rita(Robert) M. Fritzen, Griffin, GA, 10 grandchildren and several great grandchildren, whom he loved and numerous nephews and nieces. Friends are being received Sunday, February 21, 2016 from 5-8pm at the Redmond Funeral Home 4100 S. Westnedge Ave. Kalamazoo, MI 49008 (269) 343-6156. A Rosary will be recited at 7pm. Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated 10:30am Monday, February 22, 2016 at St. Monica Catholic Church. Interment will be at Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Memorial Contributions may be made to St. Monica’s Catholic Church for masses. www.redmondfuneralhomes.net
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