Ralph L. Keller

American FlagRalph L. Keller, 69 of La Grange Park, IL and Sister Bay, WI, suddenly, on September 18, 2016 in Ephraim, WI.  A native Chicagoan, Ralph attended Taft High School, Purdue University and received an MBA from University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He served in the Army as a battalion personnel sergeant and also became a licensed pilot and a PADI scuba instructor. Ralph started his professional career in manufacturing at Zenith Electronics and continued to advance to executive positions at several companies in the Midwest, the last with Actuant Corporation as VP of Operations. He became involved with Association for Manufacturing Excellence as a member and volunteer for over 20 years and eventually became President of the organization before retirement. After he retired, he remained an active board member of the Alliance for Industry and Manufacturing. As a member of the Friends of Ephraim-Gibralter Airport, Ralph also volunteered to fly students during the EAA Young Eagle Flying program where it was his passion to encourage young people to take an interest in all areas of aviation. Ralph is survived by his wife of 39 years, Barbara J. Keller, nee Lockery; daughter Jillian (Mark) Dryfoos; granddaughter Emma Dryfoos; his mother Lois Grossen; and his constant canine companion Edward; He is predeceased by his father Clifford Keller; his brother Ford; his sister Virginia; daughter Mary Jane and granddaughter Quinn Lockery Dryfoos. Visitation, Thursday, October 13, 2016, 4 P.M. to 8 P.M. at Hitzeman Funeral Home Ltd., 9445 West 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513. Interment Private Queen of Heaven Cemetery. Information 708-485- 2000 or www.HitzemanFuneral.com.

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Messages of Condolence

  1. Moira O'Brien-DeLuca condolence:


    I am so sorry to hear about your dad. Please know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Moira O’Brien-DeLuca

  2. Jennifer Oller Lopez condolence:

    Jillian & family,
    Sending love and hugs your way.

  3. Beckie Perez condolence:

    Words fall short for expressing my deep sorrow on the sudden loss of your dad. Take comfort in knowing you are cared about and loved beyond measure. Your Paterno girls are here for you always. Love & Friendship,
    Port Washington, WI

  4. Kristen (Martina) and Dave Kowalski condolence:

    Barb, Jillian and family – we are so sorry to hear about your Dad and send our deepest sympathies your way. You are in our hearts and prayers.

  5. Lynn Frederick condolence:

    It was a tragic accident. Ralph was a fine person. I knew him & Eddie mostly from the dog park. We all miss them

  6. Sandra Steklac-Smith condolence:

    My condolences to all. He passed away doing what he loved. I was at my Mom’s house when Aunt Vivian called with the news. So sad, maybe time will heal the hurt….

  7. Karen Piggott condolence:

    What a tragic loss to all who knew and loved Ralph, as well as those who hadn’t yet experienced his friendship.loyalty. and love for his family.

    Barb, Jill and Mark, he is sorely missed. My heartfelt sympathy and love to each of you as you find comfort in the love you shared.

  8. John Blumenshine condolence:

    I worked with Ralph for 10 years through NORBIC. He became a good friend and fellow Board Member. His passing is a shock and I send my condolences to his wife and family.

  9. Pat & Nancy Carguello condolence:

    We have know Ralph for many years and wish to add our thoughts and prayers to Barb, Jillian and family. Ralph was a true friend and will be sorely missed.

  10. Cathy Lakomy condolence:

    I Knew Ralph from the dog park. Romeo & I miss seeing him & Eddie. He was such a nice man. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  11. Pattie Holton condolence:

    I met Ralph at Fuller’s Car wash while waiting for our cars to be washed a few years ago.. As we talked, we soon discovered our mutual love of Door County. He had mentioned that he often flew his airplane there. I asked him if my husband could fly up with him if it fit with his schedule. We talked several times on the phone — but the timing did not work out. I just now learned of the fateful day last September. My husband and I were devastated to hear the tragic and incredibly sad news. With Door County being a small community – we also know of Olivia’s family. I cannot even find the words to say the sadness and grief that is within my heart for these two truly fine families. Although I only met Ralph once – and talked to him only a few times via the telephone – he left a lasting impression. I could clearly see the kindness and thoughtful way he lived his life. He was a wonderful individual and a gentlemen. I send both families my deepest of condolences along with my husband. We too live in LaGrange Park and Door County – of which both have felt the incredible sad loss.

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