Judy Keeler, born Judith Carolyn Mooney in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1942, moved to Uysses, Kan. when she was six years old and her mother divorced her father to become a wheat farmer's mail-order bride. She attended Emporia State Teachers College then received her B.A. and M.A. at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.
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In the early 70s, she taught English at the College of Southern Idaho at Twin Falls then moved to Pocatello where she earned a Doctorate of Arts degree and met her husband, Greg Keeler. In 1975, she and Greg moved to Bozeman where she taught for 20 years in the English Department at Montana State University and where she and Greg, a professor in that department, raised their two sons, Chris and Max.
Over the years, all of Judy's friends have loved her for her sharp wit and kind heart. She was Greg's silent partner in songwriting, and he was her silent partner in conversation since she was always willing and able to share her candor, humor and knowledge in all subjects with their friends – one of whom said, "Judy doesn't do nuance." A dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, atheist and Dodgers fan, she didn't shy away from friendly exchanges with religious Republicans, frequently because they, too, loved her for her conversation and shared her interest in finance and the stock market.
Judy was well known for her many stories, and people would often ask her why she wasn't a writer. Because she was an ardent reader, she would usually respond with something like, "Writer? All Montana needs is another writer. There are so many that if you threw a rock you'd probably hit one. I'm a reader, not a writer, and, any more, readers are an endangered species." Though she left Brooklyn as a child, she always retained her New York attitude and enjoyed poking fun at her husband's Oklahoma background with comments like, "Oklahomans like you might be big and slow on the uptake but you're deep. Right?"
Facing several painful, incurable and progressive diseases, Judy ended her life on the first of April. She is survived by her husband, Greg Keeler; her sons, Chris Quinn and Max Keeler; her daughter-in-law, Perrin Keeler; and her grandchildren, Henry and Charlotte. The family requests that instead flowers, donations be made in her name to the ACLU or to
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.dahlcares.com.
Dahl Funeral Chapel
300 Highland Boulevard
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Apr. 8, 2012