Obituary for Walter Blair Keller, Jr.
Walter Blair Keller, Jr. passed away at his home under hospice care on February 18, 2015, one day before his 86th birthday.
Blair was born in Washington County, VA on February 19, 1929 and has been a lifelong resident and a treasured community citizen. He has held active leadership roles in his service to Green Spring Presbyterian Church and Watauga Chapel; as a farmer in his community; as an insurance agent and Board Member of Farmers Mutual Insurance; as a statistician with the Virginia Agricultural Statistics Service; as a charter member of the Mount Rogers Chapter of the Appalachian Trail Club; as a Charter Scout in the formation of Boy Scouts of America, Troop No. 70 in the Green Spring community, where he was the first member of the troop to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout; as a life-long volunteer and leader in Scouting activities; as a president and Board Member of the Southwest Virginia 4-H Center; as a member of the Board of Directors of the Overmountain Victory Trail Association; and recently as a member of the Town of Abingdon’s Muster Grounds Steering Committee. Mr. Keller was known for his quick wit, love of telling a good joke, constant smile, and his selfless devotion to the many organizations he served.
Mr. Keller traced his ancestral roots to five veterans of the Battle of Kings Mountain, which had become a passion for him over the years, and he was also active in the creation and facilitation of the “Call to Arms” Colonial Education Program held each September at the Muster Grounds site since its beginning in 2005. The W. Blair Keller, Jr. Interpretive Center at the Muster Grounds, which is a National Park Service certified site along the Battle of Kings Mountain, was named in his honor in 2010.
Mr. Keller is survived by his wife of 65 years, Gilda Bower Keller; daughter, Teresa Keller (Fred Johnson); son, Walter Blair Keller III (Sylvia); and one grandson, Wesley Blair Keller (Emily Compton).
He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter Blair Keller, Sr. and Eula Preston Keller; two sisters, Betty Hope Keller Warren and Judy Lynn Keller Thayer.
Visitation and a celebration of Blair Keller’s life will be held at the Abingdon Senior Center, 300 Senior Dr. Abingdon, VA from 4:00 until 8:00 p.m. Sunday, February 22, 2015 with an opportunity for friends and family to socialize and share refreshments and memories.
The funeral service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Monday, February 23, 2015, at Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church, 136 East Main St. Abingdon, VA because of major renovations underway at Mr. Keller’s home church, Green Spring Presbyterian Church. A private burial at Green Spring Presbyterian Church for the family will follow at a time to be determined later.
The family requests no flowers, and is especially appreciative of gifts to Green Spring Presbyterian Church, 22007 Green Spring Church Rd. Abingdon, VA, 24211, or to a charity of their choice.
Appreciation for loving end-of-life care goes from the family to Sarah Farmer and Tina with Mountain States Hospice, and to special caregiver Anita Stigers.
Pallbearers will be brother-in-laws, Bobby Smeltzer and Kyle Thayer and nephews, Dale Smeltzer, David George Thomas, Wade Thayer and Jeff Warren, and close friend, Bob Wolfe. Honorary pallbearers include the men of the Green Spring Presbyterian Church, Sons of the American Revolution, and the Overmountain Victory Trail Association.