In Memoriam

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Howard S. Keller ’37

A picture of Howard Keller

Howard S. Keller ’37, July 19, 2009, in Seattle, Washington, surrounded by his family. A political science major at Reed, Howard also worked part-time at Meier & Frank. It was this experience, he said, that alerted him to his aptitude for merchandising and business. Following graduation, he enrolled in the Graduate School of Commerce at Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois. One year later, he was hired as a management trainee for the Interstate Department Stores chain. At this same time, he married Frances Mesher ’37, and entered into a family business. During World War II, he was a staff member on the War Production Board, in charge of the allocation of plumbing materials. “This experience, coupled with my previous activities, gave me what I felt was enough of a background to get started in business for myself,” he stated. In 1945, he opened Keller Supply Company, a specialty plumbing and hardware vendor in Seattle, starting out as salesman, purchasing agent, warehouseman, and bookkeeper. He expanded the business to 18 warehouse operations in Washington, Oregon, and Montana, before retiring in 1982. Howard demonstrated his commitment to higher education through generous financial support for Reed and the University of Washington, including the Access Program for adult learning. He attended more than 100 classes in the program over a 20-year period. Among other things, Howard is remembered for his extensive knowledge, sense of humor, kindness, and for his entrepreneurial spirit. Survivors include Frances, their daughter and two sons, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. His sister, Helen M. Keller ’30, also graduated from Reed.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2010

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