John R. “Jack” Keller Jr.

John R. “Jack” Keller Jr., 84, of Bucyrus, passed peacefully to his Heavenly home on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 following a recent decline in health.

Jack was born December 30, 1936, in Bucyrus to the late John R. Sr. and Edna V. (Wilt) Keller. He was a 1954 graduate of Bucyrus High School and shortly thereafter began a four-year machinist apprenticeship at Timken. Following the program, he remained with the company until 1967 at which time an opportunity arose to teach machine trades at Bucyrus High School. Jack then completed his teaching certification from the University of Toledo and taught machine shop at Bucyrus until retiring in 1994. In addition to teaching, Jack assisted with the football program, helped at basketball games, and if something needed fixed, Jack took care of it.

In the mid-50s, Jack was into drag racing and could often be found at the track in Mansfield. He and a friend hit up a local dairy shop and it was love at first sight when he laid eyes on Norma Jean Little. They dated for a couple of years and on June 30, 1956, he married the love of his life, who survives. Jack and Norma raised two children and spent many weekends and summers at Lake Erie. In 1980, they purchased and operated, Shade Acres, a campground and cottage rental located on Catawba Island. They were proud to have been named campground of the year during their first year of operation and this venture kept them busy for several years.  Their family loved lake life and shared many trips on the water. In addition to playing as a family, they also worked as a family by personally building two lake homes that provided countless memories over the years. The family shared many December vacations to Florida and Jack and Norma have enjoyed many winters spent in Florida.

Jack’s greatest hobby was restoring cars and he was especially proud of his 1963 Studebaker Avanti he restored from the frame up. This prized possession of his was shown off at several area car shows. Jack was one to always keep busy. He built homes, did numerous home renovations as well as countless projects over the years and he took great pride in the fruits of his labor.  He attended the Bucyrus Nazarene Church, was a member of the Bucyrus Elks Lodge and Sons of AMVETS, and for relaxation, enjoyed episodes of Gunsmoke.

In addition to Norma, his wife of 65 years, Jack is survived by children, John R. (Christine) Keller III of Port Clinton and Debra (Jeffery) Tracy of Westerville; three grandchildren, Jennifer Keller, Aaron Hickman, and Ryan (Breeanna) Hickman; two great-grandchildren, Alyssa and Emily; brother-in-law, Jim (Janice) Little; sister-in-law, Marian (Jim) Feltner; as well as nieces and nephews. Jack was preceded in death by his brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Rose Keller.

His family will receive friends from 1 – 4 pm Sunday, October 24 at Wise Funeral Service, where his funeral will begin at 11:00 am Monday with Pastor Ray LaSalle officiating. Burial will follow in Oakwood Cemetery.

If desired, donations can be made payable to the Bucyrus Nazarene Church and will benefit the building fund. These gifts will be accepted through the funeral home. Expressions of sympathy are encouraged to be shared on his tribute wall at wisefuneral.com.

 

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