||Edward C. Keller, Jr., Ph.D.,Sc.D.,FAAAS, age 77, passed away on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown. His family had gathered close to his bedside since a major stroke on February 16th of this year.
Dr. Keller was born in Freehold, NJ on October 8th, 1932 the son of Edward C. Keller and Pauline D. (VanSickle) Keller. Ed was raised in Bloomsburg, PA, where he graduated from Bloomsburg High School in 1950. Shortly after graduation he married his high school sweetheart, Helen Baylor. At the age of seventeen he contracted poliovirus, which lead to lifelong disability in his legs. He received a grant to attend the famous rehabilitation facility in Warm Springs, GA in the summer of 1951. Ed worked hard to regain as much use of his legs as possible and soon received a scholarship to attend Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA. There he received a B.S. in Agronomy, Botany, & Economics in 1952 and his M.S. degree in Genetics/Breeding & Zoology. He then received a Ph.D. in Statistical Genetics & Statistics in 1961. He preformed his postdoctoral studies at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill from 1961 to 1964 in Biochemical Genetics & Statistics.
Ed worked for Penn State from 1955 to 1961 as an instructor and researcher, while attending school, and was a NIH Fellow at both Penn St. and at UNC. From 1964 to 1968 he was an Assistant Professor of Zoology at the University of Maryland, and also was on part-time staff at George Washington University as an advisor in undergraduate education. In 1966 to 1968 Ed was Manager of Data Systems and Operations for the NUS Corporation in Los Angeles, where he worked for the space program. He came to Morgantown in 1968 as the Chairman of the WVU Biology Department. After five years as an administrator, he became a full time teacher/researcher who taught thousands of students and graduate students over a 40-year period, and served on many graduate committees. During that time he published over 110 research articles, abstracts, reports and was awarded 52 governmental grants. . Also, he was important in higher science education in the state, and served as the past President of the West Virginia Academy of Sciences.
His areas of research expertise included: Taconite pollution in Lake Superior; the ocean dumping problem of Philadelphia; EPA air and water pollution monitoring criteria; impacts of stress on bio-regeneration systems in the Apollo project; oil pollution projects for the EPA and industry; waste water guidelines; nuclear, synfuel, and coal plant impact statements; the impact of acid mine drainage and acid mine drainage remediation; and the environmental influences in human cancer and cardiovascular mortalities and their spatial distributions in West Virginia.
Dr. Keller received many awards in his life that he held dear. Among those he was most proud of were: a honorary D.Sc. from Salem College (1978); WVU Social Justice Award (1991); Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering (1997), Distinguished Service Award from the National Science Teachers Association (1997); and his 2002 induction into the Hall of Fame for Persons With Disabilities for his lifetime achievements.
Ed was known as a champion for the disabled. He obtained N.S.F. funding and taught for several years at a unique summer program designed to expose high school juniors to the marine sciences in a laboratory setting (Wallops Island, VA), and to other students with differing disabilities than their own. This program was so successful that an award winning film was made about it. He spent his later years as a National Science Foundation expert on disabled persons in Science and Engineering, and was the coordinator of WV Dept. Education for Equity & Access Education.
Ed is survived by his son Edward C. Keller III and wife Diana, and his daughter Kim and husband S. Craig Stamm, Ph.D., and his two grandchildren Lauren V. Stamm and Nicholas Edward W. Stamm, and Lauren’s fiancée, John Michael Barone, all of Morgantown
Ed was preceded in death by his parents and his ex-wife of more than 30 years, Helen Keller Henry.
Friends may call at the McCulla Funeral Home Sunday, March 21, 2010 from 1-3 pm. A Celebration of Life service will be held at 3 pm with memories of Ed being shared by Dr. Joginder Nath, along with other friends. Burial will be at New Rosemont Cemetery in Bloomsburg, PA at a later date.
The family encourages donations in Ed’s memory be made to a favorite charity.
Online condolences can be sent to the family at www.mcculla.com