Passed March 27, 2023
Last updated 5/30/2023 at 4:29pm
On Monday, March 27, Phil Keller, the loving husband and father of two beautiful children, passed away peacefully at the age of 80 with his wife at his side.
He was cared for by the intensive neurology comfort care unit at OHSU.
Phil was a Wisconsin native and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with a degree in radio, television, and film. It was at the University that he met his wife of 54 years, Lynne.
They raised a son, Luke, and a daughter, Rachel. He began his career as an account executive with Life magazine. He was general sales manager, vice-president, and president of many TV stations: KMOX in St. Louis, TeleRep in Chicago, WTVJ in Miami, WFAA in Dallas, WKOW in Madison, KOTV in Tulsa, KXTV in Sacramento, United Television in New York, and Channel 2 Telemundo in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
He and his family took a break from large cities and the corporate life when they moved to Jackson, Wyoming. There they bought and ran a restaurant/bakery together called The Bunnery. It had a sign out front that said, "Get your buns in here."
His love of the outdoors, nature, wilderness, adventure, camping, mountains, and fly-fishing brought them to Sisters 30 years ago. For the past 20-plus years he has worked for Jeff Perin at The Fly Fisher's Place. That was indeed his happy zone after so many years of corporate life.
In his youth, he played many sports, but his love was baseball. He even went to spring training with the Milwaukee Braves. He was also a tournament-level tennis player. He loved reading history books, discussing books, tying flies, woodworking, watching sports, playing bridge, working in his wild flower garden, pruning his favorite tree, and feeding the birds.
He was active in his homeowners region, pulling the invasive weed mullein from the meadows to prevent them from overtaking or displacing native species. He became nicknamed "The Mullein Man." This is just one example of Phil's generous heart and hardworking mindset.
Phil was preceded in death by his parents Larry and Dolores and his sister Kay. He is survived by his wife, Lynne; his son, Luke; his daughter, Rachel; his sister, Judy; his brothers John and Bob, Bob's wife, Kelly, their son, Jordan, Jordan's wife, Megan, and their daughter, Lola.
The family would like to thank the community for all the loving support and acts of kindness. Per Phil's request there will be no formal funeral. Every time he left the house to go fly-fishing he'd say, "I'm going to the Cathedral." He meant it, and that is how it will be.
In memory of Phil please consider a charitable contribution to your favorite river, land, or wildlife preservation organization.