James Wellensiek Keller of Cary, NC formerly of Alexandria, VA, passed away suddenly Saturday, May 30, 2015.
Jim was born May 24, 1940 in York, PA to the late Albert Dietz and Virginia Lupton Keller. He was graduated with honors from Severn School in Severna Park, MD in 1958. He was a member of the United States Navy Reserve where he proudly served as a Sonarman Second Class onboard the U.S.S. Eaton DDE-510 stationed in Norfolk, VA and participated in the Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961.
He married his high school sweetheart Margaret Deborah Thatcher on August 26, 1961 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in York, PA. In 1965, he received a B.S. in Business Administration with honors from Old Dominion College in Norfolk, VA where he majored in accounting and served as president of Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity. Jim spent the first nine years of his career on the audit and tax divisions at Price Waterhouse accounting firm in Washington, DC. In 1974, he was recruited to join the corporate staff of The Washington Post Company where he remained until his retirement as Assistant Treasurer and Director of Taxation in 2002.
During his career in Washington, he obtained his Certified Public Accountant license and was an active member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Tax Executive Institute. Always a loyal and energetic volunteer, Jim served in a multitude of roles, including member of the INOVA Hospital Board, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Alexandria Hospital, President of Belle Haven Country Club, President of the Y.M.C.A. and varsity tennis coach for St. Agnes School, all in Alexandria, VA.
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Throughout his life, Jim was an avid sportsman participating in swimming, baseball, basketball, softball, football, tennis, golf and sailing. As a sailor, Jim was a member of the Lewes Yacht Club for over 63 years and shared his love for the sea by mentoring countless young sailors on his beloved Lewes beach.
As a certified USTA tennis instructor, Coach Keller spent many hours coaching his girls on the Varsity Tennis Team at St. Agnes School.
After retirement, Jim and Debbie moved to Savannah, GA where he could actively pursue his patriotic passion to support members of the armed services, both past and present. He spent many hours as a USO volunteer at Hunter Army AFB and as a docent at The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. One of his proudest accomplishments was to be elected President of the Savannah Council of the Navy League of the United States. At the time of his passing, he was a National Director of this organization.
Jim and Debbie have been active members in Peace Lutheran Church and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Alexandria, VA, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension in Savannah, GA and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Durham, NC.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Deborah Thatcher Keller; daughters, Jacquelyn Louise Keller and husband Osvaldo Velez, Jr., of York, PA, Juli Ann Keller McKinney and husband Michael F. McKinney of Apex, NC and his grandchildren, who lovingly referred to him as “Buddy,” Sarah Katherine McKinney of Apex, NC and Alexander James Velez of York, PA; siblings; Virginia Keller Beaverson, and husband Charles A. Beaverson of York, PA, Elizabeth Anne Keller Owen and husband A. Thomas Owen of Lewes, DE, Albert H. Keller and wife Sue Ingram Keller of Lewes, DE; maternal aunt Edith May Risher, of Oakland CA; sister and brother-in-law, Wendy Thatcher Norris of York , PA and Wayne Ashway Thatcher of Atlanta, GA, and their families, numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and their families.
In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his sister-in-law Toni Malloy Keller and nephew Stephen Thomas Owen.
Services will be held at 3:00 pm on Thursday, June 4, 2015 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1200 West Cornwalis Rd, Durham, NC 27505 and at 1:00 pm Saturday, June 6, 2015 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 100 W. Luray Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301 with a reception to follow at Belle Haven Country Club. Inurnment will take place at a later date in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made in Jim’s memory to the Wounded Warrior’s Project, P.O. Box 75817, Topeka, KS 66675 or your favorite charity.