Walter J. Keller Jr.
Navy vet, accomplished accountant, entrepreneur
Walter J. Keller Jr. passed away peacefully on the morning of Friday, February 1, 2013, in his bed, in his home of nearly 40 years in Bethel Park.
He was born January 4, 1940, an eldest of three siblings who grew up in South Park on Brownsville Road, adjacent to the second hole of the South Park Golf Course.
Mr. Keller was a gifted four-sport athlete who played football, soccer, basketball and baseball at Snowden High School in 1957, leading his basketball team to the WPIAL championship tournament his senior year. He was especially proud of his team’s performance in 1956 to 1957, including the run through the WPIAL championship tournament culminating at the Pitt Field House in March 1957. He eventually accepted a basketball scholarship to St. Vincent College.
He was a well-traveled U.S. Navy veteran, having had the distinction of being the radioman while stationed in Londonderry, Ireland, who received the radio call from the USS Nautilus, SSN-571, the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine, that the famous submarine and its crew had emerged safely from under the ice after completing the first submerged transit of the North Pole August 3, 1958.
Returning from naval service, he was one of the few Pirates fans to have not only witnessed Bill Mazeroski’s famous home run in the 1960 World Series, but further had the honor of having attended all of the 1960, 1971 and 1979 home World Series games the Pittsburgh Pirates played over the last half-century.
Mr. Keller married Christine Bonosky in spring 1968 and set down roots as the founding partner of Accountants and Associates just a stone’s throw from the home where he had been raised. For more than 40 years, he remained a fixture in the South Park business community, where he advised countless successful small businesses and entrepreneurs on the nuances of taxation and business issues. In addition to being a well-respected and accomplished accountant who sat on the board of directors at several local companies, he was an avid entrepreneur who, over several decades, founded a number of successful businesses, including Accountants and Associates (accounting firm), Cochran and Keller Coal Co. (coal mining), Pittsburgh Vending (vending machine services), The Sweet King (ice cream retail), Snowden Associates (investments) and Nokomis (technology).
He was a loving husband of 44 years, brother, father and grandfather.
Surviving are his wife, Christine Keller; a sister, Carole Drotos; four children, Walter J. Keller III, Katie Zimmerman, Heather Geisler and Brian Keller; and nine grandchildren, Olivia Geisler, Kimberly Keller, Alex Keller, Annabel Geisler, Amelia Keller, Nathaniel Keller, Kayla Zimmerman, Lilly Zimmerman and Walter J. Keller IV.
Deceased is a brother, Paul Keller.
Friends will be received from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday and 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in Griffith Mortuary Inc., 5636 Brownsville Road, South Park, where prayers will be said at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, February 6, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:15 a.m. in Nativity Church, South Park. www.griffithmortuary.net