Betty Jane Keel
Betty Jane Keel, 78, passed away peacefully
Feb. 8, 2008 of natural causes at her Big Lake home.
A visitation will be held from noon to 2 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Kehl’s Palmer Mortuary Chapel. A celebration of her
life will be held afterward at 3:30 p.m. at Gary Crochet’s residence, 990 North
Tom Watson Place in the Mission Hills Subdivision of Wasilla.
Keel was born Betty Jane Hayes on Sept. 16,
1929 to Leon Hayes and Esther Sherman Miller in Binghamton, NY. She gave birth
to Elaine Rose Hayes on Dec. 30, 1948, Stephen Leroy Hayes on Oct. 1, 1951, and
Linda Faye Hayes on Jan. 7, 1957. She met Staff Sgt. James R. Keel in the NCO
Club in Maryland in 1960 and married on April 26, 1961. They moved to Salina,
Kan., Schilling Air Force Base, where she gave birth to twins James and William
Keel on Aug. 12, 1962 and Michael Douglas Keel on Feb. 23, 1964. Being the wife
of a military man, they moved from base to base until November 1972 when they
made the journey north to Alaska. They lived in Anchorage until December 1982
when they decided to make the Valley their home.
Keel enjoyed racing micro midget cars in her
youth. Her greatest hobby seemed to be collecting owls. Her family wrote, “She
has thousands of owls and no two are alike. Betty was a true grandma in every
sense of the word; she gave so much of herself, and she was always giving and
giving with out ever asking for anything in return.”
Keel loved to do crossword puzzles. She would
sit at the kitchen table before the sun would rise and work on her puzzles. Then
she would watch the sun rise over the Chugiak Mountains. She also enjoyed
playing pinochle and listening to country music. Most of all she loved spending
time with family and friends.
She is survived by her husband of 47 years,
James R. Keel of Big Lake. Her siblings Richard L. Hayes, Robert Lester Hayes,
Raymond Norman Sherman of Delaware; Harry Hayes, Kenneth Hayes, Ruth Miller,
Susan Taylor of New York; Linda Winter of San Antonio, Texas; Harriet Ludwig and
Marian Huggins of Louisiana; and Millie Sherman of Delaware. Her children Elaine
Vibbert of Paxton, IL, Stephen Hayes of Greenwood, Del., Linda Stehman of
Harrisburg, Pa., James Keel of Big Lake, William Keel and Michael Keel of
Anchorage. Her grandchildren David Vibbert, Justin and Jeremy Anderson, Jamie
Burton, Cheree Keel and Terry Keel, Tyler Keel, Ashley and Fuchsia Keel. Her
great-grandchildren Jacob Vibbert, Shayne Marie Keel-Casqueira and Shelby
Memorial donations can be made to Big Lake EMS,
Fire & Rescue, P.O. Box 520869, Big Lake, AK 99652. Local arrangements were
provided by Kehl’s Palmer Mortuary.
Source: Frontiersman, 15 February 2008