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Richard C. Keller

May 4, 2020
Richard C. Keller
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Obituary for Richard C. Keller

Obituary of Richard C. Keller
April 12, 1937 – May 4, 2020

Richard Charles Keller of Harding Township, NJ passed away peacefully at home with family present on Monday, May 4, 2020 after a long illness. He was 83 years old.

Richard was a man of vision and a master of life, whose pursuit of personal excellence and profound experiences afforded him a life of unique friendships, diverse knowledge, and true substance. Born in Buffalo, NY and was the beloved son of Walter F. Keller and Katherine D. Keller. As a young man he attended high school at St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute in Tonawanda, NY. At the time, he was a competitive figure skater with the Buffalo Skating Club. Along with his sister Mary Kay, he won the Eastern Sectional Figure Skating Pairs Championships three consecutive years in 1955, 1956, and 1957. Their trophies were subsequently retired to the Figure Skating Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, CO.

After moving on from competitive skating, he enlisted in the Air National Guard and was stationed at Niagara Falls Air Force Base. During the Berlin crisis of 1961, he was activated and re-stationed to Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, SC, where he served as a medic alongside his lifelong friends, including his future brother-in-law. While serving in the Air National Guard (and realizing it may not be the right career path for him) he began what would be a long and successful career at Marine Midland Bank.

Starting out in the Commercial Loan Division in 1959, Richard worked his way up through the ranks at Marine Midland Bank. However, one of his first milestones at the bank was of a personal nature, when he met a summer associate named Diane. After a first official date at his sister’s wedding, their relationship blossomed, and they were wed on Grand Island, NY in June of 1962.

During his early years at Marine Midland Bank, Richard worked while also attending night school at the University of Buffalo to acquire his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. He also took correspondence courses for many years through Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania to attain an Advanced Executive Degree. He worked on, and then managed the municipal bond trading department in Buffalo. In 1977, he was transferred to New York City, and he relocated his family to Montville, NJ. He was head of both municipal trading departments in New York City and Buffalo.

Determinedly, he ascended to roles at Marine Midland Bank that saw him overseeing important mergers and acquisitions, building and developing new departments, and managing personnel and operations both domestically and abroad, including the money management department, which included foreign exchange trading, US government securities trading, and portfolio management. As Senior Executive Vice President, he also served as Chairman of the Asset/Liability Committee and Capital Markets Sector. In 1986, he testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commerce, Consumer and Monetary Affairs during congressional debates related to the repeal of provisions in the Glass–Steagall Act. He retired from Marine Midland Bank (now HSBC) in 1990 as Executive Director.

Beyond all of his personal and professional accomplishments, Richard was most proud of his family. He travelled the world for work – from Paris, to London, to Hong Kong – but always made sure he was home for the weekend to go skiing with his children in the winter, or boating with them in the summer. He was a longtime member of the Lake Valhalla Club in Montville, NJ where he and Diane forged many lifelong friendships. They also owned a home on Lake Sacandaga in the southern Adirondacks for 15 years before building a magnificent home on the shores of Lake Placid. For 22 years, they enjoyed living part time in Lake Placid, where they formed many new friendships, enjoyed outdoor pursuits, and volunteered their time. Richard served on the Board of Directors at Northwood School from 2000 – 2012, and was the President of the Sand Point Home Owner’s Association for many years. Their home in Lake Placid, named “Castlewood,” became a welcoming retreat where family and friends -- both new and old -- would gather. An overly generous host, Richard opened his home to any and all, relishing in the subtle moments and simple conversations that form the underpinnings of a robust life. He enjoyed golfing, skiing, manning the grill on all-day barbeques, and captaining cocktail cruises in “Babe,” his 1947 Chris Craft named after his dearly-departed mother and the playful nickname given to her by his father. Later in life, his main focus shifted to his five grandsons, with whom he would childishly frolic and impart infinite wisdom upon.

Richard knew how to live, and live out loud. Whether you met him for a day or knew him a lifetime, he blessed every person that knew him with that spirit. He cherished traditions and family customs, and would endeavor to preserve them and pass them on to future generations. Richard was an outstanding storyteller, but an even better listener of stories. His reverence for stories told to him over a glass of wine made everyone feel special, unique, and important. And through it all he did it with class – from the way he dressed, to the way he spoke, to the way he carried himself. We are all truly better people for knowing him.

Richard is survived by his devoted wife of 57 years, Diane M. Keller; son Franz R. Keller and wife Christine; son Erik R. Keller and wife Gretchen; sister Mary Kay Schaab and husband William; sister Joan A. Fischer and husband Denis; and brother Bryan J. Keller and wife Ann. He is also survived by five grandsons – Benjamin, Ryan, Travis, Wyatt and Matthew. He is preceded in death by his parents Walter and Katherine Keller; brother Walter F. Keller, Jr; and sister Patricia A. Martin. A private viewing for the immediate family will be held at 10:30 am at Doyle Funeral Home in Morristown, NJ on Wednesday May 6, 2020. His remains will be interned at St. Stephen Church on Grand Island, NY. A celebration of Richard’s beautiful life and far-reaching influence will be held at a later date.

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