Josephine E. Keller

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Josephine Elliott Keller

88, passed away on August 18, 2012 at her home in Indianapolis, Indiana. Born in Corpus Christi, Texas, her parents were Walton H. Elliott of Greenville, Texas and Fanny Sellors Elliott of Fort Worth, Texas.

As a child Josephine traveled internationally because her father worked for Texaco Oil. They lived in London and South Africa for much of her early childhood. Upon returning to the United States, the family lived in Greenwich, Connecticut. After public high school, Josephine attended the University of Texas for two years followed by Parsons School of Design. World War II interrupted the completion of her clothing design education in Paris although she continued to create beautiful clothing for herself and her family throughout her life. During the war, Josephine taught ballroom dancing for Arthur Murray in New York City.

In 1946, Josephine married Dr. William P. Keller, DDS of Indianapolis. After moving to Indianapolis in 1947, she became actively involved in the Indianapolis Day Nursery Junior Auxiliary and the Children's Museum of Indianapolis where she participated in the Guild from 1949, serving as President in 1956. Mrs. Keller was responsible for developing the nationally distributed educational mail order craft project for the Museum Guild in which kits that were focused on international themes, such as Navajo sand painting and Japanese Carp Banners, were received by children to assemble and then use. This project was featured in Life Magazine in 1957. From 1949 through 1960, Mrs. Keller was also involved in creating extraordinary environments for the Children's Museum dances by generating extensive decorative scenarios based on exhibits in the museum. The elaborate decorations were then sold to enthusiasts to raise money for special museum needs.

The mother of three children, Josephine was an avid gardener. An organic vegetable gardener since the 1950s, she continued to expand her gardening skill by developing beautiful landscapes wherever she lived including extensively gardening an acre of forested hillside with bulbs and wild flowers.

She was a celebrated cook who studied in France, and focused on cooking creatively with confections, as well as producing many unusually beautiful and elaborate feasts. Mrs. Keller and several friends became proprietors of La Petetchka, a store specializing in fine cookware and kitchenware located in Broad Ripple Village during the 1960s.

A skilled craftsperson in many areas, Josephine Keller was highly respected for the level of professional finish and elegant beauty she brought to everything she created.

Mrs. Keller is survived by her three children and their families: Victoria K. Fraser of Williston, Vermont, her husband, Jim, and step-grandchildren Mark Fraser, Maury Tooley, and Christopher Fraser; Dr. Paul E. Keller DDS of Goshen, Indiana, his wife Nancy, and grandchildren, Alison C. Keller, Amanda Keller Heiser, Anna C. Keller, and Elliott C. Keller; and, Evaline E. Keller of Seattle, Washington, her partner, Randy Richardson, and granddaugher, Sally Roberts.

Mrs. Keller is pre-deceased by her husband, William P. Keller, her brother, Walton Elliott, Jr, of Waitsfield, Vermont, and her parents.

The family expresses profound gratitude to geriatric care manager, Judy Holler Weybright of Elder Care Advocates and her family for the years of excellent support that allowed Mrs. Keller to stay in her beloved home and garden, and caregivers Franko Alexander-Carthon, Frieda Armstrong, Julia Kellams, Margie Pitts, Loretta Roberts, Sue Shook, and Diana Zaato for the kindness and devotion of their care.

Arrangements are being handled by Leppert Mortuary Nora Chapel . A funeral service will be held at the Gothic Chapel at Crown Hill Cemetery on Saturday, August 25 at 11:00 a.m. The service will be followed by a luncheon at Woodstock Country Club. Interment will be at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

Memorial contributions in Josephine Keller's honor are encouraged to the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, 3000 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208.

Online condolences can be made at:

Funeral Home
Leppert Mortuary Nora Chapel
740 East 86th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46240
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Published in the The Indianapolis Star on Aug. 23, 2012
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