Clell Keller, 93, formerly of Robinson, Illinois, died at 6:25 a.m. on Sunday, March 4, 2018 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. He was born Sept. 20, 1924 in Graysville, Indiana, the son of Omer Keller and Myrtle (Matheny) Keller, both of whom preceded him in death. He is also preceded in death by his brothers, Dewey Keller, Moran Keller and William Keller.
He married the love of his life, Arlene Dart, on Sept. 7, 1946, and they were married for wonderful 71 years before he preceded her in death. He is also survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Larry W. and Lehua Keller, of Lebanon; by his daughter and son-in-law, Denise L. and Jerry Utterback, of Robinson, Illinois; by his grandchildren, Dustin and Becca Keller, of Lebanon, Joshua and Kim Keller, of Lebanon, Kimbra and Stephanie Cunningham, of Lebanon; step-grandchildren, Joseph and Athena Getsi, of Toledo, Ohio, Michael Getsi, of Mt. Juliet, Jake Sloan, of Lebanon, Travis and Jennifer Utterback, of Robinson, Illinois; by his great-grandchildren, Courtney Keller, Abigail Keller, Reagan Stephens, Deacan Stephens, Brittany Pittman, John Thomas Keller, Lane Utterback, Madison Utterback, Roman Getsi and Theodore Getsi; by his great-great-grandchild, Allison Utterback; by his sister, Hazel Gaddis, of Joliet, Illinois; as well as several nieces and nephews.
Clell grew up during the Great Depression and worked hard before and after school as a young man. This instilled in him a tireless work ethic that served him well for the rest of his life. Following his graduation from Robinson High School, Clell proudly answered his country’s call, serving in Patton’s 3rd Army during World War II. All in all, he fought in five campaigns in the European Theater – Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe.
Back home, he went to work for the Robinson Daily News as linotype operator. After 31 years at the newspaper, he again answered a call, this time from his community. For 12 years, Clell served Crawford County and its citizens as clerk of the circuit court before retiring in 1988. He also served on the board of directors for the First Robinson Savings Bank for 17 years before leaving his position in 2001.
He loved this area and was, by all accounts, a staple of the community. He was a member of a number of local organizations, from the Robinson VFW Post No. 4549 with which he was a lifetime member and served as district commander from 1959-60, the Robinson American Legion Post No. 69, the Robinson Masonic Lodge No. 250, the Danville Scottish Rite, the Ainad Shrine, the Crawford County Shrine Club, where he served on the honor guard and was a past president, and was chairman of the Crawford County Republican Party and a charter member of the Oak Glen Golf Course.
Anyone who knew Clell knew the man loved golf. This passion started at a young age, when he started to caddy at the age of 13. Through the years, his love of the sport grew and blossomed. He was a three-time club champion at Sunshine Country Club Estates in Harlingen, Texas, and it is estimated that in the course of his life, he hit 16 holes-in-one. This passion stayed with him until the very end, with Clell playing his last round the week before his passing.
Though golf was important to him, it was shadowed by the adoration he showed to his wife and the love he had for his family and friends. He never met a stranger and was one of those one-of-a-kind souls who could never be forgotten. His family, his community and his country have lost a true friend, champion and patriot in Clell Keller.
It is worth mentioning he was a parishioner of the First Baptist Church of Combes, Texas. There is peace in knowing he accepted Christ as his savior long ago, and today, he is experiencing paradise.
Memorial contributions may be made to VFW Transportation Department, 210 E. Main St., Robinson, IL 62454.
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