Joseph Lambert Keller, 94, died Thursday morning, May 24, 2007, at Northern Montana Care Center of natural causes.
His prayer vigil and rosary service will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at St. Jude Catholic Church with his funeral Mass 10 a. m. Tuesday at the St. Jude Catholic Church with Father Robert D. Grosch officiating. Burial with full military honors will follow at Highland Cemetery. A fellowship luncheon will be held at St. Jude Parish Center immediately after the services at the graveside. Joseph was born Sept. 13, 1912, in Karlsruhe, N.D., to Lambert and Eva (Schwan) Keller. He was raised on the family farm in North Dakota, where his family homesteaded. Joseph was the first generation American of his family he taught his family English. He received a scholarship to St. John University he graduated from St. John’s in 1936. He then attended the University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota and the University of Washington, graduating with his bachelor’s degree in English. Joseph married Mollie Cushman on Dec. 26, 1942, in Baltimore, Md. Joseph enlisted in the United States Army during World War II. He served in the Pacific Theater and was honorably discharged in 1946. After the war, Joseph earned his master’s degree in English at the University of Montana. The couple began teaching in Greenbush, Minn., in 1938. They later taught in Fairview and Sunburst, Carnation, Wash., and St. Regis. In 1957 they moved to Havre, where Joseph joined the Northern Montana College faculty teaching English, retiring professor emeritus in 1978. Joseph was very active in the Havre community. He and Mollie have been members of the St. Jude Catholic Church for many years. Joe served on the Montana Advocacy Task Force for senior citizens. He was representative for the Havre area for more than 20 years. Joe was a member of the Knights of Columbus, V.F.W., Retired Teachers and was honored as Senior of the Year in 1986. He was an honorary lifetime member of the Lion’s Club. Joe coached softball, basketball and football. He loved baseball and everyone knew him as “Baseball Joe.” Joe played softball in Havre for many years, playing his last game when he was 80 years old. His hobbies include reading and baseball. Joseph was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Leo, Lambert and August Keller; and sisters, Catherine Kingsley, Lena Volk and Regina Stack. Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Mollie Keller of Havre; daughters, Marcia (Joe) Carrillo of Chicago and Cheryl (Robert) Willits of Great Falls; son, Douglas (Carol) Keller of Austin, Colo.; sisters, Eva Bossert of Vancouver, Wash., Francis (Leo) Black of Everette, Wash., Edith Noland and Linda Keller, both of Washington; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Memorial contributions in Joseph’s honor may be made to St. Jude School, 420 Seventh Ave., Havre, MT 59501 or to the MSU-Northern Education Foundation, P.O. Box 1691, Havre, MT 59501. Services and arrangements have been entrusted to Holland and Bonine Funeral Home.