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Milton J. Keller
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Obituary for Milton J. Keller

Milton J. Keller, 89, Bismarck, North Dakota, passed away Tuesday, January 2, 2018, at CHI, St. Alexius, Bismarck. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 AM, Saturday, January 6, 2018, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church with Msgr. Gene Lindemann officiating. Visitation is scheduled for Friday, January 5, 2018, from 5-7:00 PM with a Vigil/Rosary service beginning at 7:00 PM, at DaWise-Perry Funeral Services, Mandan. Visitation continues one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Bismarck.

Milton was born on September 11, 1928, at the family home in Bismarck, ND, to Wendelin and Mary (Schlosser) Keller. He was baptized at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bismarck.
The family moved to Timberlake, SD until Milton was five years old. At this time, they moved to a small farm northwest of Braddock. This is where he started school. They then moved to Strasburg, where they lived through his 5th grade. After the 5th grade, Milton moved to a farm near Braddock and attended a rural school until he graduated from the 8th grade. He then moved to Bismarck where he attended St. Mary’s High School for 9th and 10th grades. The family then moved to Alameda, CA, where he finished his high school years. After graduation, he worked for Bell Telephone for two years, installing phone lines. He took a quick trip back to North Dakota, and upon his return travels to California, North Dakota kept calling him back. He answered that call and returned to his family’s farm.
As well as helping on the family farm, Milton taught in rural schools for two years. His highlight at this time, however, was meeting his bride-to-be. He met Josie Wolbaum in May and married her on October 18, 1949. Thus began the first day of 68 years of marriage. They started their own farm ten miles north of Braddock on which he built his home and barn with his own hands. They farmed until 1987. After their first five years of marriage, their blessings of children began, and their wish to raise a family in a farm atmosphere became true. Milton’s continual love for the farm life is evident in the memories of his wife and 13 children. It was a place of hard work and hard play. There were enough kids to haul rock and enough to play a softball game. Milton and Josie left the farm and moved into Braddock where he became the school custodian and worked part-time for the implement shop. In 1991, they moved to the big city of Bismarck, where they spent a number of years managing apartments.
Milton was a man of humble character and found his riches in his family. His wit and humor were with him even in his last days. “I was born with nothing and still have most of it,” was a common comment from him. This was a testament to his understanding that the “things” of this world are just that. He was a gentle giant. He was a tall man; however, in his world, how tall you stand on the outside is less important than how tall you stand on the inside.
Milton is survived by his wife, Josie Keller, and his twelve children: Mary Jo Mastel, Deb Patterson (Harlan), Janice Kubik (Tim), Jerry Keller (Candi), Alvina Reichert (Mark), Jim Keller (Nancy), Pauline Strom (Murray), Arleen Fettig (Tony), Josie Glatt (Dean), Harrietta Kalberer (Jim), Barb Stroh (Brent), and Milton Keller Jr., 37 grandchildren, and 33 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his in-laws Harry Wolbaum (Lena), Gus Wolbaum (Maryann), George Wolbaum, Eleanor Wolbaum, Margie Wolbaum; daughter-in-law, Kerry Keller; and many nieces and nephews.
Milton was preceded in death by his son John, one infant daughter, his son-in-law Mike Mastel, his brother Bill Keller, his sister Alvina Kirchmeier, and his brothers-in-law Joseph Wolbaum, Jake Wolbaum, Mike Wolbaum and Franklin Wolbaum.

Please sign his guestbook and share memories at Funeral arrangements are being made with DaWise-Perry Funeral Services, Mandan, North Dakota.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Milton J. Keller, please visit our Tribute Store.

Previous Events





5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
DaWise Perry Funeral Services

4614 Memorial Highway
Mandan, ND 58554





7:00 PM
DaWise Perry Funeral Services

4614 Memorial Highway
Mandan, ND 58554

Mass of Christian Burial




10:30 AM
St. Mary's Catholic Church

806 East Broadway Ave
Bismarck, ND 58501


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