Ruth M. Keller
NOV. 22, 1929-MARCH 9, 2013
Ruth M. Keller (Submitted photo / March 11, 2013)
Born Nov. 22, 1929, in Hagerstown, Md., she was the daughter of the late J. Calvin Meyers and Iva Mae (Moser) Meyers.
From the beginning, she followed her own path, determined not to let others “break her spirit.” After graduation from Hagerstown High School, Ruth went to nurses training in Baltimore. While there, she met an adventurous young medical student at a Lutheran Youth event, Franklin L. Keller, who was determined to become a missionary in Africa and had a special interest in Ruth. After passing muster with his parents and a protective younger brother, Ruth agreed to join Franklin in his life.
They were married Sept. 5, 1951. In 1953, with a year-old son and another child on the way, they sailed off to Liberia and began a life of service, which was the hallmark of both their lives. They served as missionaries for 19 years.
After Franklin’s untimely death in 1987, Ruth spent time traveling and having adventures with her grandchildren. She also took a couple of mission trips to South America and Liberia.
In 1993, she moved back to the East, settling first in Westminster, Md., where she became a hospice volunteer. In 1995, she found herself called to commit to a year of service through the Diaconal Year Program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. One year expanded to eight, working with Pastor David Shaheen in Upper Darby, Pa., at Christ Lutheran Church. While there, she helped organize outreach to sick and homebound members, local outreach to the neighborhood and developed a parish nurse program. In 2003, at age 74, she retired from her full-time volunteer job and moved to Menno Haven in Chambersburg, Pa. True to form and her lifelong commitment to service, she volunteered in a variety of ways, notably as an organizer and active participant in the Abider program and as a volunteer in the gift shop.
Ruth’s eager engagement, wide smile and ready conversation will be missed by many. She would talk to anyone and smiled at everyone. She was a bright light to her family, who miss her dearly.
She is survived by her sister, Dorothy Hughes; son, Mark Keller and spouse, Debbie; daughter, Katharine Jeffers and spouse, Dennis Riggins; daughter, Nancy Delaney and spouse, David; daughter, Patricia Day and spouse, Mark; and seven grandchildren.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Franklin; sisters, Mildred Stouffer and Elsie Miller; and brothers, Keith Meyers and Bill Meyers.
A memorial service to celebrate Ruth’s life will be offered Thursday, March 14, 2013, at 1 p.m. in the chapel at Menno Haven, 2075 Scotland Ave., Chambersburg, PA 17201, where the Rev. Dr. Neal Hively, Chaplain Vernon Isner and Chaplain Bob Keener will officiate. The family will receive friends after the service.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her name to ELCA Missionary Sponsorship, P.O. Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694-1764; Menno Haven, 2075 Scotland Ave., Chambersburg, PA 17201; or to Trinity Lutheran Church, 26 W. Commerce St., Chambersburg, PA 17201.
Arrangements are entrusted to Thomas L. Geisel Funeral Home and Cremation Center, Chambersburg.
Online condolences may be offered on her Book of Memories page at www.geiselfuneralhome.com.