Lester  Keller, Jr.

Obituary of Lester E. Keller, Jr.

Lester E. “Bud” Keller Jr., 75, of Fairmont, WV passed away on Feb. 13, 2024 at Ruby Memorial Hospital. Born April 24, 1948 in Fairmont, Bud was a devoted husband, father and grandfather whose exceptional concern and care for his family has continued even after his passing. A consummate planner, his reliability, attentiveness, and steadfast commitment are an admiration. Born to Lester E. and Marilyn Keller, Bud grew up in Fairmont, and graduated from Fairmont Senior High School in 1966. He completed a business degree at Fairmont State a few years later, having to take a hiatus from the classroom to take over his father’s newspaper distribution job due to illness. It would be the first in a rather lengthy list of such examples, from military service to finding employment at Youngstown Sheet and Tube in anticipation of asking Becky Metz for her hand in marriage. Their initial date – a blind one – came on April 18, 1970, and the couple wed Aug., 25, 1973. After living in Griffith, Indiana for two years, they moved home to Fairmont, and Bud began a 30-plus year career at Rivesville Power Station before retiring as a control room foreman in 2012. In the proceeding years, he especially enjoyed additional time at the family camp alongside the Tygart River. The cabin was hand-built in the early 1960s by his father, Les, and the location served as the de facto summer residence for years as Bud progressed through high school. It remained a centerpiece of family get-togethers for decades, and is the source of many memories of swimming, fishing, campfires and cookouts. It is perhaps most fondly recalled by the family’s five golden retrievers which have trod the shorelines, and splashed the summer away in rather prodigious merriment. Bud is survived by Becky, his wife of 50 years, and both were proud of reaching the milestone this past August. The Golden Anniversary is one achieved by a fortunate few – particularly when Becky wasn’t sure she wanted to attend the blind date in the first place. Alas, fate takes its course, and the two fell into a deep companionship. The sentiment was returned just prior to the wedding, when Becky’s father, Gerald, told Bud he “had five minutes to go, before you lose your freedom.” That bond endured, and the two count each other as among the greatest of blessings. Bud is also survived by a son, Matt, of Morgantown, and grandson Kase. Recollections of youth baseball, church league basketball, beach trips and Bucs games abound. Matt has yet to truly get over being forced to go to bed during Game Seven of the 1992 NLCS, but his psyche might have been better for it in the coming years. The two also shared many WVU sporting events, and their cross-country road trip will long come to mind. An innately natural grandfather, Bud took exceptional enjoyment being around his grandson, Kase, who became a source of pride and the osmosis of youthful exuberance during trips to New England, Florida and on a Disney cruise. The two shared a bond around chess matches, history, politics, and the evening news – preferably with Lester Holt. Bud was preceded in death by his parents. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Union Rescue Mission of Fairmont, 107 Jefferson St. (urmwv.org), or to benefit and counter the issues of Chiari Malformation via Conquer Chiari (conquerchiari.org). The family has entrusted the arrangements to the Ford Funeral Home, R.C. Jones Chapel, 1410 Country Club Road, Fairmont. A celebration of life will be held in the funeral home on Tuesday, February 20, 2024 from 3PM until 6 PM. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.fordfuneralhomes.com.