William J. Keller, 86, of Fleetwood, PA, passed away November 3rd, peacefully in his sleep, in his Florida residence. He was the widower of Celestina T. Keller who passed away November 3, 2015, celebrating 62 years of marriage. Born in Ringtown, Longswamp Township, he was the son of the late William E. & Helen (Himmelreich) Keller. Having lost his mother as a young man, he was blessed with a second mother, the late Virginia Keller.
After serving in the Army, he decided to start his work career at a foundry in Birdsboro. That career began and ended on the same day when he saw his coworker lose his finger. Known for his gift of gab, he became a salesman at Manderbach Lincoln Mercury. Shortly thereafter, he needed to find affordable housing for his family. That need led him to Roland Brothers, one of the first mobile home dealers in the area. They not only sold him a home, they hired him on the spot. In 1961, with probably less than 2 nickels to rub together, he took a risk and started his own company, Wm. J. Keller Manufactured Housing Communities and Sales. He remained at the helm until the late 1980s when he turned the day-to-day operations over to his daughter. Even then, when he was in town, you would find the “company ambassador” at his desk conversing with people. Like Will Rogers, “he truly never met a person he didn’t like”. He will be deeply missed.
In his pastime he enjoyed being a world traveler, flying his Beechcraft Musketeer, and owning numerous championship midget race cars. He had the pleasure of serving as an Auditor for the Township of Richmond as well as being a former bank board member at Vist Bank. For many years, he was VP of Checkered Flag Fan Club and an active member in SMRCA, ARDC and ESMRA racing clubs as well as AOPA flying club.
Surviving are his daughter, Julia, Oley; grandson, Christopher Hauger, husband of Jenele, and great-grandson, Logan, Fleetwood; brother Roy Keller, husband of Christina, Fleetwood; step-sister AnaBel Weidner, Fleetwood; and nieces, Dr. Chastity Keller, Mechanicsburg, and Michele Williams, wife of Kurt, Mertztown.
A Funeral Mass will be held for William on Monday, November 11, 2019 at 10:00 am at Gethsemane Cemetery, 3139 Kutztown Road, Reading, in the Chapel of the Resurrection with Monsignor Walter T. Scheaffer as celebrant. Entombment will follow in the mausoleum.
A viewing for William will be held on Sunday evening, November 10, 2019 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Walbert Funeral Home & Cremation Services, PC, 14390 Kutztown Rd, Fleetwood, PA.
In lieu of flowers, contributions would be appreciated by St. Jude’s Hospital, Wounded Warriors; or St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Kutztown.
Walbert Funeral Home & Cremation Services, PC, Fleetwood, is honored to be caring for William and his family. Online condolences may be offered at WalbertFuneralHome.com.
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