Jerrol “Jerry” Ralph Keller (81) of La Conner, WA, passed away at Island Hospital in Anacortes, WA the evening of May 25th, 2019 after a courageous struggle with declining health. He was born on July 25, 1937 in Morganton, NC, the devoted only child of Phrona (Benfield) and Ralph Keller.
The Keller’s moved west, where Jerry spent his youth outdoors, scouting the North Cascades and as a young man, cultivating his entrepreneurial spirit with ingenious odd jobs in and around the Marblemount area. He worked in the timber business helping his father. Jerry graduated from Concrete High School, Class of ‘55 and went on to apprentice at Boeing while attending the University of Washington in mechanical engineering. He also worked for PACCAR on the Bradley Fighting Machine. Jerry took a break and motorcycled through Mexico and then began his long career as Lucas Machine owner making parts for NASA and Los Alamos.
During this time, Jerry built his home in Kent on a 25 acre “hobby farm” while simultaneously building a house for his parents in their much-loved hometown of Rockport. He did make a yearly journey to compete in the big fish contest in Kona, HI, eventually landing a 614lb Blue Marlin.
After retiring, Jerry enjoyed more fishing, hunting, farming, gardening, traveling and sailing. He was a live aboard sailor on the “Kings Ransom” sailboat for five years before making his home in La Conner and a second love nest in Arizona. So lived Jerry. Big hearted, kind, generous, brutally honest and a man of his word. Caring father, loving husband and loyal friend. Self-made man, natural-born salesman, life-long sailor and master storyteller. He was preceded in death by his parents Phrona, and Ralph, and his daughter Kimberly (7).
Jerry is survived by his wife Diane Keller (married 6/13/98), daughters Teresa (Curt) Allen and Kristina Keller, stepdaughters Shannon Bowerman, Dawn (Damon) Laird, Colleen (Damon) Stewart and Heather (Kelly) Devlin, grandchild Coral Schoonejans and step-grandchildren Cameron Laird, Ashley Laird, Emma Stewart and Owen Stewart.
A celebration to honor Jerry’s life will be held at 2:00 pm, Saturday, June 15, 2019 at the La Conner United Methodist Church, officiated by the Rev. Marcella Baker. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to La Conner United Methodist Church, 601 S 2nd Street, La Conner, WA 98257. Special thanks to the skilled and caring staff at Island Hospital. Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel and Crematory Inc., Anacortes and the San Juan Islands. To share memories of Jerry, please sign the online guest register at www.evanschapel.com