Past RI President Charles C. Keller dies

Charles C. Keller, a former RI president and accomplished corporate attorney, died on 10 May. He was 94.

In addition to his term as RI president in 1987-88, Keller served as director, Rotary Foundation trustee chair, chair of the Council on Legislation, and district governor. Most recently he was chair of the Foundation Centennial History Book Committee. He joined Rotary in 1950 and was a member of the Rotary Club of California, Pennsylvania, USA.

RI Director-nominee Stephanie Urchick, who joined Keller’s club 27 years ago, called him a mentor and a “Godfather” of Rotary.

“I truly didn’t understand how much I was learning by just watching and listening to him on a weekly basis,” says Urchick, who is now a member of the Rotary Club of Canonsburg Houston Southpointe, Pennsylvania. “But being a senior leader now, I realized the massive impact he had on my development. I find comfort knowing that one of the treasures Chuck left behind was a very detailed 'road map' through his lessons, wisdom, and kidness.”

Keller was a combat pilot in World War II and later joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve, serving in the Judge Advocate General’s branch. He retired in 1972 as a lieutenant colonel.

Keller earned an undergraduate degree in education from the California University of Pennsylvania. He later decided to pursue law and received a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1949. His career as an attorney was filled with accomplishments. He was a senior partner in the law firm of Peacock, Keller, Yohe, Day, and Ecker. He served on the board of governors of the Pennsylvania Bar Association and in 1983 was president of the organization. In 1986 he received one of the highest honors granted to trial lawyers by the American legal profession — election to membership in the American College of Trial Lawyers.

In 1984, Keller helped lead an official delegation of Pennsylvania lawyers and judges on a trip around the world, including visits to China and what was then the Soviet Union.

Keller held leadership roles in the local and state chambers of commerce, the Boy Scouts, and United Way. He was director of the Foundation for California University of Pennsylvania.

He was an avid sports enthusiast and played basketball and tennis in college. He also performed vocal and instrumental music early in his life and then devoted himself to choral music.

The presidential theme during Keller’s term, Rotarians — United in Service — Dedicated to Peace, urged Rotary members to build a more peaceful world. He challenged members to revive vocational service and enhance youth programs.

Keller received RI’s Service Above Self Award and the Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service Awards. For his extraordinary service to PolioPlus, he also received the PolioPlus Pioneer Award and the Service Award for a Polio-Free World.

“He had a remarkable life and left a remarkable legacy, whose absence will be felt all across the Rotary family,” says Urchick. “His imprint on me and Rotary was profound.”

Keller is survived by his wife Carol, his children Jeffery, Gregory, Candy, Lou, and Robin; stepchildren Bradley and Susan, five grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

Condolences may be addressed to Mrs. Carol Keller: 230 Glen Arden Cir., Washington, Pennsylvania, 15301 or at Warco-Falvo Funeral Home. Memorial contributions in honor of Keller may be made to the California United Methodist Church, 227 Third Street., California, Pennsylvania, 15419.