Father Keller remembered for laughter

| February 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

Father Lawrence Keller loved to laugh. That’s one thing his niece and caretaker Mary Kehoe recalled about the priest, who died Feb. 12 at age 93.

Father Lawrence Keller

Father Lawrence Keller

“If you talk to anyone, they’ll remark about his laugh,” said Kehoe, a parishioner of St. Joseph in Rosemount. “He had a real hearty, genuine laugh. And, he loved to laugh. He was kind of a jokester, kind of had a dry sense of humor. He’s my dad’s brother, and that’s the way my dad [Richard] was.”

Father Keller was born in Hastings Aug. 12, 1922, the oldest of Lawrence and Frances Keller’s six children. He attended the St. Paul Seminary and was ordained a priest in 1947.

He served for a year at St. Raphael in Springfield in what is now the Diocese of New Ulm before serving at Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul. He was named pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas in St. Paul Park in 1967, and served there until 1978, when he became pastor of St. Charles in Bayport. He served there until his retirement in 1987.

He was 65 at the time and was granted a medical disability retirement.

“He was very down-to-earth and approachable,” Kehoe said. “He was definitely a people person. He always had himself surrounded by people.”

People were so drawn to him that some of them switched parishes when he was reassigned, Kehoe noted.

“He had a lot of people who would go to different parishes after he would move because they connected with him so well,” she said. “There’s one lady in particular. She called me almost weekly and absolutely loved him. . . . She just cannot say enough about him, how he counseled her through everything in her life.”

Father Keller is preceded in death by his parents, brothers Vernon and Richard, and sisters Clarice Gergen and Benedictine Sister Lucy Keller. He is survived by his brother, Raymond Keller; sisters-in-law Darlene Keller and Hedwig Keller; and nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visitation is 1-4 p.m. Feb. 21 at St. Joseph in Rosemount. A funeral Mass will be offered 11 a.m. Feb. 22 at St. Joseph, with visitation one hour prior. Interment is in St. Joseph parish cemetery.

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Category: Obituaries