Willis "Red" Keller, 82, of Havre died Tuesday, April 26, 2005, of natural causes. Cremation has taken place and a private family service will be held on Sunday at Willis' request.
Willis was born March 5, 1923, in Fergus Falls, Minn., to John Daniel and Johanna (Peterson) Keller, one of five children.
He attended school in Trego and Spooner, Wis. He worked on the family dairy farm before enlisting in the U.S. Navy. After serving three years in the Navy, he came to Montana to find employment and worked on farms in the area before hiring on with the Burlington Northern Railway as a switchman and later a brakeman, retiring after 30 years of service.
On Dec. 24, 1948, Willis married Ruby Rosalie Woodward in Chinook. Their union lasted 32 years before Ruby's death March 11, 1980. They raised their four children in Havre and over a period of 18 years cared for 52 foster children, ranging from newborns to teenagers.
On March 14, 1981, he married Frances Eatinger in Havre. From this marriage his family grew to include four more children.
After his retirement in 1983 Willis was able to pursue the other love of his life - fishing. He and Fran spent many hours and days in the Bear Paw Mountains fishing. When Fran was unable to go, daughter Lynn stepped right in and the past few years they spent many hours fishing.
When not busy fishing, he was at home spending countless hours in his garden and flower beds, keeping his yard the showplace of the neighborhood. Red was so proud he had been awarded Yard of the Week. Willis was also an avid hunter and continued to hunt until his health prevented from him going.
Willis was preceded in death by his parents; sister, LaDon; and a brother, Donald.
Survivors include his wife of 24 years, Frances (Eatinger) Keller; children, Kerry (Brenda) Keller of Philadelphia, Miss., Debbie (Jim) Morley of Sunburst, Nancy (David) Pegar of Havre, Connie Keller and special friend Chuck Baldwin of Fairfield, Idaho, Joyce (Bob) Potter of Glasgow, Dennis (Donna) Humphries of Glasgow, Lloyd (Tammy) Humphries of Helena, and Lynn Askar of Havre. He is also survived by a brother, Adam (Shirley) Keller, and sister, Lorraine (Pat) Barrett, both of Trego, Wis.; 19 grandchildren and 21 great- grandchildren.
Memorials are suggested to Bear Paw Hospice C/O Northern Montana Hospital, 30 13th St. W., Havre, MT 59501, or to a memorial of one's choice.