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Joyce B. Keeler

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ARLINGTON -- Joyce Bentley Keeler, 81, of North Monmouth, Maine, peacefully passed away in the early morning hours on Monday, Oct. 15, 2007, at Samaritan Hospital in Troy, N.Y. She was born in Bennington on April 18, 1926, the eldest child of Frank Wilcox Bentley and Mildred Irene (Carey) Bentley of Arlington.

Joyce’s literary talents were recognized early on by notable writers and literary editors, and many of her works were published throughout her lifetime. During World War II Joyce gave up a scholarship to Emerson College in Boston and joined the war effort by building airplane engines at Pratt and Whitney in Hartford, Conn.

After the war and a term of study at the University of Vermont, she married Donald John Keeler, son of Wilbert R. and Alice C. (Teal) Keeler of Troy, N.Y., on Dec. 24, 1947, and settled in upstate New York.

Mr. Keeler pre-deceased her on March 4, 2005. Joyce received her master’s degree in library science and was a library media specialist at Shenendehowa Central Schools while raising her four children and tending to issues regarding her husband’s progressive loss of eyesight.

After retirement, Joyce and her husband moved to Maine. She carried her love of things literary with her, becoming an antiquarian book dealer. Her collection of first editions of children’s literature, sci-fi and fantasy, nostalgic fiction, regional Americana, and Maine writings are sought after by collectors and archivists across the country. In 2006 she was named the eleventh honorary member of the Horatio Alger Society in tribute to her life’s work. She also was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

In her spare time Joyce was involved in the historical research of her family geneology, documenting the activities and whereabouts of all her ancestors who had established roots on Colonial American soil.

Joyce is survived by her daughters Holly K. Thompson of Glenville, N.Y., and Enid Drew and her husband George of Poestenkill, N.Y.; her sons Zane W. Keeler and his wife Debra of Monmouth, Maine, and Jay D. Keeler of Scotia, N.Y.; a sister, Clara Cameron-Filuta and her husband Michael of Groveland, Fla.; five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. A brother, Alan F. Bentley of Billings, Mont., died in 2002.

A service of celebration of life fulfillment for both Joyce B. Keeler and her husband of 57 years, Donald J. Keeler, will be held on Saturday Dec. 22, 2007, at 1 p.m. at the Federated Church of East Arlington. Conducting the service will be church pastor, the Rev. Kathleen Clark. Burial will follow in the Bentley family lot in Evergreen Cemetery where military honors will be bestowed to Mr. Keeler, a World War II Navy veteran.

In recognition of their long local heritage memorial gifts may be made to the Bennington Museum in care of the Arlington Chapel of the Hanson-Walbridge Funeral Home, P.O. Box 528, Arlington, VT 05250.

To send personal e-mail condolences to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Donald J. Keeler, please visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Hanson-Walbridge Funeral Home, Route 7A, Arlington.
Published in Bennington Banner on Dec. 19, 2007
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