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Sparkman Funeral Home & Cremation Services

1029 South Greenville Ave, Richardson, TX

OBITUARY

Janice Keller

December 20, 1927July 25, 2019

Janice Fure Keller passed away on July 25, 2019 in Dallas, TX. She was born December 20, 1927 in a rural Minnesota farmhouse so cold they put the baby in the oven. She grew up on a farm near Scarville, IA. After graduating from Kiester High School in 1945, she studied Education and Art at Mankato Teacher’s College. She taught in a rural, one-room school house when her thirst for adventure led Janice to teach at the Department of Defense Schools in Europe. She scrambled to complete her baccalaureate education at the University of Minnesota in order to qualify. Her assignments in Landshut and Munich Germany served as perfect launch pads for weekend travel with her girlfriends. In her memoir Janice wrote, “The opportunity to teach in the American Schools in Germany was… my Cinderella time…. To have viewed all the original art I have seen in person is such a privilege.” During her second year teaching for the Defense Department, Janice led a remedial summer school in Regensburg, Germany assisted by a local tutor. The charismatic tutor shared Janice’s passion for travel and invited her on a boat excursion down the Danube River to visit the Walhalla Palace. They soon fell in love and in April 1956, Janice married E. Christian Keller in Regensburg.

They returned to the US and their first child, Doug, was born at Fort Carson where Chris completed basic training. Doug was born with Down’s Syndrome, a genetic anomaly the medical profession feared more than understood. Doctors pressured the new parents to institutionalize their baby, forget about him and start over-- standard medical advice during the era. Thankfully they refused and Doug went on to bring immeasurable joy to his family and friends. The couple eventually settled in Denver, CO where they had three more children, Kathryn, John and Anne. In her memoir Janice noted, “I had my own preschool!” Chris built a career in travel and Janice reveled in the job of managing a household replete with four busy children. She studied The Joy of Cooking, learned to make rye bread to suit her European husband and organized art projects with her four children. The couple enjoy travel to Europe, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and the Caribbean.

The family later moved to Dallas. Janice returned to teaching and earned a Master’s Degree in Gifted Education from Texas Women’s University. In 1983, Chris died of lymphoma and Janice began a new chapter as a younger widow. She supported herself by teaching and she learned to socialize as a single woman. Twelve years later, she retired to a joyful career in grandparenting. Her very first act after retirement was to enroll in a course at Richland Community College, “How to Design a Meaningful Retirement." She journaled, wrote a memoir, volunteered at the symphony, played bridge, attended the theater, subscribed to a host of wellness and self-improvement publications and faithfully completed her daily crossword puzzle. Janice reported one of the most stimulating courses she’d experienced was the King of Glory “Rebels With a Cause” bible study project: a rigorous interrogation of the gospel as a call for social and economic justice.

Janice approached her life with a spirit of adventure, a profound appreciation for expressions of beauty, a reverence for neighbors and community, an unsated appetite for growth, a cheerful capacity to adapt to adversity and an ever-deepening relationship with her Christian faith.

Preceded in death by her parents Odvin and Norma Fure; husband E. Christian Keller; son Douglas Keller, she is survived by her children Kathryn Keller (Gene Carter), John Keller (Cinde) Anne Aakre; grandchildren Bryce Keller, Chase Keller and Talia Carter; siblings Clarice Herrick, Owen Fure, Norman Fure (Nancy) and Stanley Fure (DiAnn.)

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Special Olympics.

Services

  • Viewing Tuesday, July 30, 2019
  • Funeral Service Tuesday, July 30, 2019
  • Reception Tuesday, July 30, 2019
  • Graveside Service Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Memories

Janice Keller

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Lois Mandelberg

August 1, 2019

Janice: I only know you through your wonderful daughter Anne. After reading your incredible life story I know now where Anne gets her spunk, grit and her gift of giving to others. Janice you accomplished a lot but your biggest contribution was your obvious gift of loving your family and showing them the way.
Enjoy your next life. I will meet you on the other side. Lois

Mara Balusek

July 30, 2019

I had the pleasure of talking and getting to know Janice in the last few years. She truly was an inspiration to all who knew her. We shared our love of a special needs child and the heartbreak of their death. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

Mary Sue Brown

July 28, 2019

I met Janice a few weeks ago and was so impressed with her humor and intelligence. When I found out she was a retired teacher I understood it all. We talked about her family as she shared photos from her birthday party. We enjoyed talking about Germany, teaching, and of course our grandchildren. A very remarkable woman who was very proud of her family.

Kathy Strickland

July 28, 2019

Janice Keller was a good bridge player, and a better friend. She had grace.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY