George Keller

George Keller

March 9, 1931 - April 22, 2020
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George E. Keller was born March 9, 1931, at Rosebud, SD, to Frank and Olive (Flood) Keller. He grew up in St. Francis and graduated from St. Francis Mission in 1949. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict. Following his honorable discharge in 1955, he enrolled in college at Chadron State Teacher College.
During these years, he met and married his first wife, Mina Marie Connot. This union brought seven children into the world. Mina passed away in 1970 due to complications of child birth. This left George alone to raise seven children by himself (Nancy, Tom, Linda, Richard, Ron, Sandy, and Anita). George ended up being a single father to all seven children, ranging from the age of 14 years to the youngest, a new born.
During his college years, he was a painter and did general construction work. He also worked for the law enforcement in Chadron during the latter part of his college career. After graduating from Chadron Teacher College, he landed a teaching job in Ewing, NE. He taught Science and U.S. Government and became the High School Principal.
He next took a position at Flandreau Indian School as a teacher then in a supervisory role at the dormitory. A position came open in Rosebud and he moved back to the Rosebud Reservation in 1968, where he became the head of the BIA dormitories. Following this position, he served as the CAP (Community Action) Director. He then became the first High School Principal for Lower Brule. During the time he lived in Lower Brule, he also taught college extension courses for the University of South Dakota.
George met Marcheta Ann Cook, and they were married in 1973. They had four sons together (Gene, Jeff, Marc, and Tim). They moved back to the Rosebud Reservation and George took a position as the BIA Superintendent for the Rosebud Agency. He became a career BIA employee and transferred to San Carlos, then to Truxton Canyon Agency, and finished his BIA career in Salt River Agency with 32 years of Federal Government service time. After retirement, he continued to work in the field of housing, resource development, and education. He served the Native American people as a grant writer for the Resource Development Office on the Rosebud Reservation. One of his proudest achievements was securing a veteran’s cemetery on the Rosebud Reservation.
George possessed a Master’s Degree from SDSU and had also taken courses at Haskell and the University of Nebraska. George received his Honorary Doctorate at Sinte Gleska University in May, 2008. He was a very devoted father, husband, and provider for all eleven children and his two wives. He faithfully practiced and relied on his Catholic religion.
George was an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. He was involved in many volunteer projects ranging from coaching, refereeing, serving as a Cub Scout leader, and working in the communities building playgrounds and places for children to play. He was grandpa, great-grandpa, cousin, and uncle to many on the Rosebud Reservation. He never put himself above anyone and always conducted himself in a respectful, professional manner. He lived a very productive life and represented the true meaning of Ikceka Wicasa (common Lakota Man).
George, 89, Kingman, AZ, and formerly of Rosebud, SD, died Wednesday, April 22, 2020, at Monument Health Rapid City Hospital.
Survivors include his wife, Marcheta Keller, Kingman, AZ; his children, Nancy (Walt) Keller Hernandez, Mission, SD, Linda (Mike) McGrath, Rapid City, SD, Richard (Kathy) Keller, Mission, SD, Ron Keller, Mission, SD, Sandy (Dan) Steele, Rapid City, SD, Anita (Richard) Mergy, LeGrand, CA, Gene (Lauren) Keller, Kingman, AZ, Jeffrey (Shelley) Keller, Bakersfield, CA, Marc (Jennifer) Keller, Prescott Valley, AZ, and Tim (Shaye) Keller, Goodyear, AZ; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and sister, Belva Anderson, Hasting, NE.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Mina Marie Keller; his son, Thomas Edward Keller; and his parents, Frank and Olive Keller.
Private family services will be held with interment at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.
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John Hicks

Posted at 07:43pm
Our family’s deepest condolences and prayers for George and his wonderful family. I met him in Kingman and Learning from him that he came South Dakota, made for common ground. George and I had interesting conversations about growing up there.
God Bless You George and God Bless the Keller family.
John Hicks and Family

Keller Family

Posted at 01:41pm
RIP Uncle George Keller 💖
I enjoyed the visit we were able to have this day, I'm thankful my son Matt Kingsley was able to meet and visit with you too.
You were a sweet, kind man and heaven just got a lot brighter 💞
Please remember my cousins Nancy Keller-Hernandez and Linda McGrath and family in prayers as they lay their Father to rest. Love you all 😘

I wanted to say something about Uncle George E. Keller. He passed away and will be buried at Black Hills National Cemetery on Monday. His mother Olive and my Grandmother Rosalie are sisters. He joined the United States Navy during the Korean War and served a tour over there off the coast of Korea on the U.S.S. Iowa (BB-61), and achieved the rank of petty officer third class. He was a very educated man, becoming a teacher and pursuing a career in the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

One of Uncle George’s skills was grant writing. He authored the preapplication for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Veteran’s Cemetery. Not many people know that. Not only did he do the paperwork but he had to also build the relationship between the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration. We were the second tribe in the United States and the first tribe in South Dakota to build a cemetery for our Veterans that utilized funds from the State Cemetery Grant program.

He has eleven children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Pray for them.

Fair Winds and Following Seas.

Rest In Peace Uncle George.

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