Brother Richard Keller

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Brother Richard Keller, C.S.C. March 11, 1941 - March 29, 2014 NOTRE DAME - Brother Richard Joseph Keller, C.S.C., age 73, died on March 29, 2014, at Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio. He was born in Shelby, Ohio, on March 11, 1941, the 10th of 12 children of Steven and Martha (Brown) Keller. He attended Sacred Heart Elementary School and graduated from Shelby High School in 1960. He worked for General Motors as a successful tool and die maker for more than three years. After a visit by Brother Robert Kelly, Richard decided to follow a calling to join the Holy Cross Brothers. He entered Sacred Heart Juniorate in Watertown, Wisconsin, on October 31, 1964. Three months later, he began his religious training at St. Joseph's Novitiate in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, where he pronounced his first vows on January 26, 1966. Richard's superiors noted he listed cooking as a favorite hobby and suggested he follow a food vocation. He stayed on at St. Joseph Novitiate to learn more about cooking from Brother Polycarp. In 1967 he moved to Watertown to work with Brother Thomas Rock in the kitchen at Sacred Heart Military Academy. In 1968 he was sent to Rolling Prairie to serve for 5 years as cook/chef at Le Mans Academy. In 1973 he moved to the Brothers Center at Notre Dame, Indiana, to serve with Brother Henry Skitski for 4 years. During those 11 years, Richard took culinary courses in Wisconsin and Indiana and earned a diploma from the University College of Culinary Arts. He unfortunately contracted hepatitis and after a year of recuperation, in 1977, he was assigned to Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, Ohio, (where he stayed for the next 37 years) to work in Campus Ministry and be the Director of Residency Programs. Those jobs developed into many others: working with student retreats, assisting in the media/library center, supervising residential life, acting as sacristan or choral leader, and serving as moderator of the Gilmour Academy Women's Club. In 1987, Richard returned to his first love and became the Director of Food Services at Gilmour. He was the executive chef for the next 12 years (with a staff of twelve people) responsible for serving more than 700 students and faculty each day. In 1994 he found time to complete his studies at the University of Akron in dietary management. He even visited and cooked with renowned chefs, Julia Child, Emeril Lagasse, and Wolfgang Puck, and appeared on the 'Good Morning America' television show. Richard often offered his talents as a chef to raise money for charitable and civic organizations in the Cleveland area. They would auction his services to prepare festive seven-course dinners. His cooking and baking skills also raised funds for the homeless. Richard received numerous awards and special recognition for his selfless generosity, among them the August LoPresti Fellowship Award and the American Culinary Federation award. In 1999, Richard returned to his previous multi-tasking roles on the Gilmour staff. He helped Father John Blazek, who described Richard as a "God-send" to the life of the Academy. He assisted in retreats and weddings and chauffeured students to medical appointments or the airport. He was particularly interested in helping the elderly, the infirm and the sick in visits to nursing homes and hospitals. He was a longtime member of the Order of Alhambra, caring for disabled people, and also was the 'quasi' chaplain for the local fraternal order of police. Richard's philosophy of life was summed up when he said, "Life is about reaching out, helping those in need, being a good listener, a comforter, and a healer. We're all here to set that kind of example." There will be a wake service and funeral liturgy at Gilmour Academy today, April 3rd, at 7:00 pm. Visitation at Notre Dame will be held on Saturday, April 5th, at St. Joseph Chapel, Holy Cross College, at 10:30 am on the grounds of Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame, with Mass of Resurrection at 11:30 am and interment afterward at St. Joseph's Cemetery of the Village. Kaniewski Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Memorial contributions, in honor of Brother Richard Keller, C.S.C., to support the mission and ministries of the Brothers may be sent to: Brothers of Holy Cross, Office of Development, P.O. Box 460, Notre Dame, IN 46556.


Published in South Bend Tribune on Apr. 3, 2014
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