Bob Keller

Obituary of Bob Keller

Robert H. Keller of Bellingham died on February 26, 2017 at Hospice House. Born in Portland, he grew up in Olympia and Tacoma where he worked as a truck driver while attending the University of Puget Sound. Bob married Kathleen Jones in 1965. Graduate study at the University of Chicago brought a Ph.D. in church history.

His campus career moved from Olympic College in Bremerton to Western, where he taught primarily at Fairhaven College, also in History and Huxley College. Fairhaven allowed classes ranging from the Grand Canyon, Native American history, and basic mountaineering, to Supreme Court history, and death and dying. In 1980 he received Western’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

Following divorce from Kathleen in 1977, he married Patricia Karlberg in 1985. During retirement, the two have traveled widely in the U.S. and Europe, with a home base in the Black Forest.

Bob was a strong environmentalist who loved wilderness travel. Three times he hiked across the North Cascades. He and Pat traversed the Brooks Range in Alaska, and twice he hiked across the Grand Canyon, rim to rim, in one day. He not only walked and talked his beliefs, but also served nineteen years on the Whatcom Land Trust board of directors.

Everything ends. A time to “cross that lonesome valley.” Bob was deeply loved by his family and will be greatly missed. He is survived by his wife Pat, his daughters Cheryl and Donna (Michael Johnson), and his stepchildren Doug (partner Jennifer Hill), Ken (Lisa), Bryn (partner Rueben Baca), his niece Susan (Shawn) and nephew Randy (Nika), along with seven granddaughters and two great-grandchildren. You may visit his “natural” grave in the Meadow at Greenacres Memorial Park in Ferndale.

A memorial service will be held on April 8th 2:30 p.m. at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship. In lieu of flowers, you may make donations to the Robert Keller Scholarship at WWU, Whatcom Hospice House, or the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.