Cover photo for Franz O. Keller's Obituary
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1986 Franz 2017

Franz O. Keller

January 27, 1986 — November 14, 2017

Franz Olaf Keller, 31, passed away Tuesday night, November 14, 2017, at home with his parents. He died from a brain tumor. He was born January 27, 1986, the youngest child of Charles and Sally Keller of Markham. Franz’s history of tumors began in 1989 when he started having seizures and an MRI revealed a tumor. In 1992 the surgeon was able to remove most of it. Follow-up MRIs showed no further tumor troubles until 2013 when a second surgery was done followed by radiation treatments. This past April brain scans done after he fell and hit his head showed the growing fatal tumor. The tumor-related changes in his brain moved Franz onto the autism spectrum and he continued to have seizures. He was very verbal and had unique ways of expressing himself. After his Grandma Thelma died in 1997, his only remaining grandparent was Grandpa Myron whom Franz called his “one leftover grandparent.” That changed after Grandpa Myron met Violet Doyle and they married in 1999. As soon as the ceremony was over Franz rushed up to Violet excitedly saying “Grandma! Grandma!” And she has been that for him over the years, always concerned about him and keeping in close touch by phone and visits in his final months. Six of his thirty-one birthdays were in Cambodia where he lived with his dad and mom as they worked on literacy books and Bible translation for one of the hill people groups. The first time there was in the late 1990s when he turned 11, 12 and 13. They went together again on three trips from 2004 to 2007. Franz helped for these last ten years by being willing to share his parents as they continued returning there each winter to help in the translation work. From 2008 until August of this year he lived at the Solway House group home in the Saginaw area and worked at Moose Tracks in Moose Lake where he enjoyed running a paper shredder to turn out-of-date shopping papers into animal bedding. He also did sweeping, vacuuming and table cleaning there. Family was important to Franz. He liked having his own phone at the group home and used it to call his parents and relatives. His parents’ internet phone let them be in daily contact with him when they were in Cambodia. Morning over there could be close to his bedtime here in Minnesota, a good time for some Bible reading. He could read with some help from Mom. Pumpkins were Franz’s focus in gardening. He helped plant the big patch at the family home and then helped with the harvest. He was eager to share his hundreds of pumpkins with family, friends and his doctors. Pumpkins went along with him when he had an autumn doctor appointment. Franz learned to knit and crochet at a young age. He knitted socks and mittens and many other items. He gave cotton dishcloths he knitted to older lady friends at church and later sold some. Other activities were biking, skiing, and flying his stunt kite. He rode behind Mom on her horse when he was little and later behind her on her motorcycle in Cambodia. When Dad was running the firewood splitter Franz helped by bringing pieces of wood to him. He was very attached to his old Alumacraft canoe, and enjoyed both paddling it and using its sail kit. He also went kayaking and fishing. He had a collection of shower heads, hoses and nozzles he valued very much. In warm weather he would put on a swimming suit and take an outdoor shower using this equipment. He liked listening to classical music, bluegrass and hymns. He enjoyed the music and greeting time at church. He liked going to the Sunday evening hymn sing at Zim and seeing friends there. Franz began receiving hospice care in July and this continued as he returned to his parents’ home in August where he lived his last months. The Duluth and Virginia teams of Essentia Health Saint Mary’s Hospice were of much help to Franz and his parents. Franz is survived by his parents Charles and Sally Keller, his step-grandma Violet Doyle Carlson, many uncles, aunts, and cousins, his brothers John (Taryn) Keller, Anders (Kristy) Keller and sisters Julia Ford, Maria (Calvin) Warwas and Natasha (Mykl) Warwas and twenty-one nieces and nephews plus two more coming soon. Franz was preceded in death by his grandparents Eugene and Esther Keller and Myron and Thelma Carlson, by his infant brother Karl Olaf Keller in 1979, and by his mother’s brother David Carlson. Funeral service will be 10:30am Saturday, November 25, 2017 at the Biwabik Covenant Church with visitation one hour prior. Pastor Clyde Harvey will officiate. There will also be visitation from 5:00 to 7:00 pm Friday evening at the Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Aurora. Burial will be at the Markham Cemetery in Colvin Township following the funeral.
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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

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