Jack Keller, a 60-year resident of Pacific Palisades, passed away in Santa Monica on Dec. 20. He was 88.
Born in Culver City on February 26, 1928, to George Herman Keller and Eleanor E.K. Berman Keller, Jack graduated from Van Nuys High School in 1946 and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, where he made many of his dearest lifelong friendships.
After securing a Santa Monica College business degree in 1949, Jack studied photography at Santa Monica Technical School for a year. He started to create a photography career, but with the arrival of his two sons, he took employment with Douglas Aircraft. His interest in photography lasted his lifetime and son Tim inherited his Rolleiflex camera and three Canons.
Jack’s lifelong passion for building and flying radio-controlled airplanes may have influenced his decision to work for Douglas, which became McDonnell-Douglas and then Boeing. During his years in program control, one of Jack’s projects was the Saturn missile that was used to send men to the moon.
Jack flew his planes at the Sepulveda Dam. The Kellers’ garage was filled with planes so big that Jack bought a Honda Odyssey van and took out all the rear seats to carry his plane bodies and wings out to the Valley.
He met his wife, Joan Day Keller, in West Los Angeles when a friend set it up, telling Jack they were going to pick up “Joe” and sending him to ring the doorbell. Jack was surprised to discover that Joe was Jo, short for Joan. The two married on August 20, 1948 and remained married for 66 years until Joan’s death in 2015.
The couple discovered Pacific Palisades when Joan’s Rancho Park employer, Fairy Tale Pastries, sent her to open a bakery space in Mayfair Market. The Kellers moved here in January 1956 and lived on Palmera (and later Muskingum) as they raised their sons, Tim and Terry.
Jack coached his sons’ baseball teams at the Palisades Recreation Center, including the PT Shaver Beavers, the Pronto Titans, the Mission Water Heater Beavers, the Cutright Volkswagen Sharks and the Indians. He also served as Scoutmaster of Palisades Boy Scout Troop 400, building it from four kids to four full-size patrols of 10-12 kids in each.
He enjoyed dancing and friends and was active with the husbands of the local Las Doradas group.
Jack is survived by his sons Tim (wife Christina Boyce) of Raton, New Mexico, and Terry of Pacific Palisades; his sister Georgia Garey (husband Bob) of West Hills; his granddaughter Darcy Day Keller of Brook- lyn, New York; and grandson Killian Caleb Keller of Austin, Texas; many nieces, nephews and friends; and longtime loving companion Helen Dickey of Pacific Palisades.
As Jack wished, a family memorial will include commingling his and Joan’s ashes as they’re scattered together into the ocean from a boat north of Santa Monica Pier.