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John M. Keil


1922 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
John M. Keil Obituary
WESTMINSTER WEST John ("Jack") Mullan Keil, 95, died peacefully on August 25, 2017, at his home with his family.

He was born in Rochester, NY, on December 30, 1922. He attended the University of Rochester, where he ran track and played varsity soccer. In 2000, he was inducted into the University of Rochester Athletic Hall of Fame.

Jack's college years were interrupted when he enlisted in the Air Force during WWII. He flew 50 missions over Europe as a bombardier in a B-24 Liberator, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the war, Jack returned to the University of Rochester and graduated in 1944. He met his future wife, Barbara, in 1950 and they were married in three months. They lived in New York City for a year and then moved to Grand-View-On-Hudson, N.Y., where they lived for 58 years. They moved to Westminister West, VT in 2006.

After graduating college, Jack began working in advertising at Needham and Groman. He eventually moved to Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, and became the agency's creative director. During his career in advertising, Jack created such iconic ad campaigns as Kellog's "Cuckoo for CoCoa Puffs" and Toyota's, "You asked for it, you got it." He is perhaps best known, however, for creating the character of McGruff the Crime Dog and playing the character's voice. Jack authored two books: "The Creative Mystique" and "How to Zig in a Zagging World".

An outsized presence to his friends and family, to whom he was known as Jolly, he had many interests, and he pursued them voraciously. He loved to play tennis, paint, run, watch football, tell stories, and mow his fields in Vermont. A lifelong performer and lover of jazz music, nothing made Jack happier in recent years than his guest performances singing with the Butterfly Swing Band.

Jack is survived by his son, Nick Keil and his wife Jill; daughter, Betsy Kluck-Keil and her husband Roger; and five grandchildren and spouses, Meghan and Galen Murray, Hunter Keil and Ellen Schramm, Conrad Kluck and Stephanie Eiss, Adam Keil, and Morgan Kluck; and by his great grandson Silas Murray. He was predeceased by his wife, Barbara Keil and his son, Peter Keil.

FUNERAL NOTICE: A memorial service will be held at the Westminister West Church at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 2, 2017.

In lieu of flowers people are encouraged to donate to Main Street Arts, 35 Main Street, Saxtons River, VT 05154.
Published in Brattleboro Reformer on Aug. 29, 2017
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