2009-06-27 / Editorials & Letters

Wanda Keller remembered


Back in December of 1955, Wanda Keller walked out of Lancaster Hospital carrying her youngest newborn son, Mike, just as my mom walked into the same hospital about to have her firstborn. Mike and I would grow up together, sharing December birthdays but more importantly, great Moms. Each December during our elementary years, they baked cupcakes for our birthdays to be shared among our classmates. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, little league baseball, countless school and church events, all the way through high school and graduation in 1974, our Moms were right there, rooting us on, admonishing us when necessary (quite often) and discharging their duties with quiet faithfulness and silent prayers, deeply believing that God had wonderful things in store for our lives.

Mrs. Keller was one of the nicest of all Moms - certainly a veteran at the role by the time Mike came around. Mike's brothers Dave and Steve preceded him and so she had learned well the ropes of motherhood and seemed undaunted by any antics we might dream up. We built forts in the hay mound, camped out in their woods, worked on merit badges on the family farm, and played a lot of basketball in the barn. (I'm convinced neither Kobe or LeBron could have beaten Mike Keller in that barn!)

Wanda never seemed nervous about our comings and goings - while fully engaging, she always seemed at ease, peaceful, ambivalent to any dangers that might be lurking in the shadows of our childhood adventures. Doug Daubenmire once had a smoke bomb explode in his hand while we camped in the woods and he slept with his hand in a can of water overnight. I have no recollection of Wanda becoming panicked by the sight of blisters the following morning nor of the times when we rode off on bicycles without helmets, headed to the woods with axes, built huge bonfires, or played in the rafters of the covered bridge down the road across Little Walnut Creek. Believe me, she cared deeply, but we had already been fully entrusted to God.

Wanda Keller was not conflicted by grandiose notions of career opportunities missed or by ambitions beyond being a devoted loving wife and mother. I'm quite certain she saw her labors as a Mom not as sacrifice but rather as privilege - not as something she had to do but as something she was blessed to be. She would become a stellar grandmother and great grandmother as well. She was a loyal friend to her friends and she was happy and satisfied and humble and grateful and a testimony to us all. She was a contented soul and the simplicity of her life was steeped in its own inherent wisdom and profundity. She went to be with her Lord early Sunday morning, June 14th and the streets there became a little more golden and our treasure there now holds even more of our hearts.

Pastor Steve Bush Millersport Covenant Church

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