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Clair Wayne Keller
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Obituary for Clair Wayne Keller

On November 19, 2017, Clair Wayne Keller passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s disease in Ames, Iowa. A celebration of Clair’s life will be held in January of 2018.

Born in North Dakota, Clair moved to Seattle with his family when he was young and where he graduated from Lincoln High School. During the Korean War, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as a radioman on a troopship for four years.

When he returned to Seattle, he met and married Marilyn (Foord) Keller. Clair earned a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Washington and received his PhD in Colonial History at the UW. He taught high school in the Seattle area where he developed new team-teaching techniques. In 1968, Clair received a dual appointment in the Education and History departments at Iowa State University, where he taught until his retirement in 2002. He pioneered many methods for teaching social studies and history, and mentored many student teachers around Iowa. He also started the Iowa History Day program, taking the young winners to Washington, D.C. for the national contest.

Clair is remembered for his many portrayals of George Washington in programs with children and adults in Iowa and other states. After retirement from Iowa State, he taught courses on the Lewis and Clark Expedition and other topics through the College for Seniors program at ISU.

Clair was very interested in politics and supported many Democratic candidates. He was an avid golf and tennis player and was a diehard Iowa State athletics fan. He was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames for almost 50 years, serving in many capacities, including as president.

He is survived by his wife, Marilyn F. Keller; his two children, Jennifer Keller (David Jackson) and Robert Keller (Claudia Keller); his brother, Joseph Keller; three grandchildren, Jillian, Mia, and Valerie; and many other family members. He will be dearly missed by family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to two organizations to which Clair had close ties:

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Iowa
505 Fifth Avenue, #901
Des Moines, IA 50309

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames
1015 North Hyland Avenue
Ames, Iowa 50010

Adams Funeral Home in Ames is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and photos may be shared at www.adamssoderstrum.com © 2017 Soderstrum Reimers Inc.


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