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Gary E. Keller
September 5, 1951 ~ September 28, 2023 (age 72) 72 Years Old
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Gary E. Keller, 72, Altoona, passed away at UPMC Altoona, surrounded by his loving family, after a brief illness. He was born in Jersey City, NJ, the son of the late Lawrence and Dorothy (Leemann) Keller. He later married Lori Moschella.
He is survived by his nagging but adoring and loving wife; 4 children: Shawn (Marie) Keller, Caitlin (Josh) Grove, Erin (Terry) Rowles, and Brian Keller (Brittany Robbins); 9 grandchildren: Aleeya, Brayden, Jaxon, Ezlynn, Khaos, Maura, Charlotte, David, and Taryn; a sister, Lorraine Hemberger; four sisters-in-law; and many nieces and nephews who loved him dearly.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Robert; and a sister, Patricia.
Gary was a graduate of Weehawken High School in New Jersey and attended Penn State University, where he studied business. He was also a United States Marine, serving in Vietnam.
After various jobs, including working for the Time Warner Cable Company as an installer, his determination and true passion in life led him to become a firefighter for the City of Altoona, where he worked his way up from Hoseman to Captain of Station No. 1. Here he formed a brotherhood like no other, as he mentored many young firefighters, who still refer to him as a ‘legend’ today. He went on to retire after 33 years of service.
He enjoyed collecting coins, pocket watches, and firearms, surfing the internet, hanging out at Rubine’s bar, watching old movies with his late mother-in-law Marge (Paulie), and the many outings with his brothers from the fire department.
Gary’s greatest joy, however, was raising four exceptional children and serving as a tremendous influence to his grandchildren.
Gary was a member of the Wounded Warriors Project and a lifetime member of the Bavarian Aid Society.
Friends will be received from 2-4pm and 6-8pm Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, in the Santella Funeral Home. A funeral service will be held at 11am Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, at the Axe and Santella Family Chapel, 1534-4th St. Altoona.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in memory of Gary to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105, or to the Wounded Warriors Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Kansas 66675.