Lt. Col. Joseph Howard Keller

by | Oct 31, 2014 | Obituaries

Norfolk — Lt. Col. Joseph Howard Keller, U.S. Army retired, 99, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014 at Beth Sholom Home in Virginia Beach.

He was a retired civil engineer for the Dupont Corporation. Born in Portsmouth, Va., he was the son of the late Belle Becker Keller and Samuel Keller. He was predeceased by his first wife, Frances Amelson Keller.

Joe was a U.S. Army veteran who retired as a Lt. Colonel and served during the Battle of the Bulge in the Calvary and Armored Divisions. He also received the Bronze Star. He graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and V.M.I., Class of 1936. He was a longtime member of Congregation Beth El, was a past Master of the Fraternal Masonic Lodge No. 53 in Richmond, Va. and was a 50-year member of the Norfolk Scottish Rite Bodies.

Left to cherish his memory is his beloved wife, Raye Zfass Swartz Keller; two daughters, Emmy Lou Kreger and her husband, Arthur of Virginia Beach and Sue Ann Berlin and her husband, Kenneth of Bethesda, Md.; three step-children, Jeffrey Swartz of Austin, Texas, Susan S. Hookman and her husband, Perry of Potomac, Md., and Charles Swartz and his wife, Paula of Richmond, Va.; three grandchildren, Jacqueline Kreger Ris and her husband, Peter of Adamstown, Md., Jennifer Sara Berlin of Washington, D.C., and Theodore Elliott Berlin of Arlington, VA; thirteen step-grandchildren, Heidi Brodsky and her husband, Michael, Shari Hookman Berger, Dr. Wendy Vassa and her husband, Tony, Aimee Robbins and her husband, Brian, Kinberly Swartz, Tracy Wynne, Jennifer Swartz, Robert Nomberg, Matthew Swartz, Jessica Swartz, Dee Dee Swartz, Steven Swartz, and Stephanie Swartz; and fourteen great grandchildren.

A funeral service was conducted at the Norfolk Chapel of H. D. Oliver Funeral Apts. with Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz and Cantor Gordon Piltch officiating. Burial followed in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Congregation Beth El or to the charity of the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be offered to the family through