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Gloria Jean Bonvechio Keister

August 23, 1923 – June 23, 2018

Gloria was born and raised in Wainwright, Ohio by two wonderful parents, Alexander and Edith Bonvechio who shared their work ethic, integrity, generosity, and love of music with her. She studied piano from an early age and was also active on the high school tumbling team and track team. Gloria spent one year at Marietta College where she apparently was having too much fun so her piano teacher had her transferred to Cincinnati Conservatory of Music in the fall of 1942. She earned both her Bachelors' and Masters' degrees in piano and organ and was hired to be on the piano faculty of Iowa State Teacher's College in Cedar Falls shortly after graduating.

Following the end of the war, Elwood "Woody" Keister joined the music faculty at Iowa State where he met and fell in love with Gloria. Not only was she beautiful, but she could also accompany his choir and play for his studio voice lessons. They married in June of 1948. A few years later and having had enough of the freezing winters in Iowa, they moved to Greenville, North Carolina where son Jay was born. In 1957, Woody became the head of the choral department at the University of Florida. Very soon after their move to Florida, daughter Jean was born. Gainesville became their permanent home for the next 56 years. In addition to raising her two children, she also taught piano and music theory, played organ at numerous churches (usually accompanying Woody's choirs), and fostered a passion for music in both her children. She was a member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church and also sang in the choir, volunteered as a Pink Lady at Shands Hospital for more than 30 years, and was an active P.E.O. member. She moved to Eugene, Oregon when she turned 90 to be with her son and his family, and closer to her daughter in California.

She is preceded in death by her husband Elwood Keister, her parents Alexander and Edith Bonvechio, and her brother Alexander "Ping" Bonvechio. She leaves behind her sister Grace Alexander, son Jay Keister, daughter Jean Keister Kellogg, grandsons Logan and Cole Keister, daughter-in-law Jodi Sommers, son-in-law Henry Tang, and many wonderful nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 21 at 10 am at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 139 3rd Street, NE, New Philadelphia, Ohio. A brunch reception will follow at Geib Funeral home.
Published in The Times Reporter on July 11, 2018
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