Arthena M. (Taylor) Keller

Jan 08, 2014

Arthena M. (Taylor) Keller passed away peacefully Jan. 3, 2014, at the Harbor Hill facility in Belfast. She was born on April 16, 1927 in Montville, the only child of Llewellyn and Katherine Taylor. Her parents both passed away when she was very young and she was raised by her loving grandparents, John and Julia Taylor of Freedom. She was better known as Tena, or later as Ma, to all those that loved and cherished her.

In 1948 she married Gilbert J. Keller, moving in a few years to a dairy farm in Montville that had been passed down from previous generations, where they raised four children and enjoyed many visits by and adventures with extended family and friends. Tena was predeceased by her husband in 2005, along with many other family members that she held close to her heart.

She leaves behind her four children, Dwayne Keller of Montville, Kathy Cunningham and her husband, Kenny, of Freedom, David Keller and his wife, Becky, of Corfu, New York, and Kevin Keller and his wife, Erna of Freedom. She also leaves a brother-in-law, Leroy Keller and wife Mary of Scarborough; a sister-in-law Lois Keller of Belfast; and a special sister-in-law, Charlene Stairs of South China. She loved and cherished her fourteen grandchildren and her nine great-grandchildren and became their biggest fan, whether by sports, music or whatever they enjoyed. She also leaves many important people in her life, especially Patrick Breau, her cribbage partner extraordinaire.

She was known and loved by so many — family, extended family and community. A long-time and favorite teacher, Tena began teaching at the age of nineteen in Palermo, where some of the eighth grade boys were bigger than she. From there she taught her beloved students in a one-room school in Montville, the East Knox and Knox Stream schools, and eventually was the reading specialist at the Mount View Elementary. Many of these students became dear friends for life.

The family is forever grateful to the Harbor Hill facility, and the many staff members that make it such a first class and comforting place. Because of their excellent and supportive care, we were able to enjoy Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's with our mother. She and all of us were treated with the utmost care and for that we are extremely thankful. We are also grateful to have her memories preserved forever with a beautiful book of her stories, which was a collaboration of her family and friends, especially Jill Johnson, grandson Derek's fiance; Martha Couturier-Coleman, most special niece; Trudy Price, friend who became another daughter; and Katie Johnson, a long-time fellow educator who made possible her dream of gifting us all with publishing and printing her book.

The world has been touched by a gift of Tena "Ma" Keller.

Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8 at Freedom Congregational Church. A gathering in the spring on April 12 will be held for those who are unable to attend now. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Warm Waldo, c/o T. Hubbard, 54 Aborn Hill Road, Knox, Maine 04986 or to the Gary Owen House Veteran’s Fund c/o Bangor Savings Bank Belfast, ME 04915 Arrangements are under the care of Riposta Funeral Home,182 Waldo Avenue, Belfast. Online condolences may be offered to the family at www.ripostafh.com.

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