James Leo Keller, 80, of Meridian, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend passed away peacefully at home on May 10, 2022 from esophageal cancer. He was surrounded by his loving family.
Jim was born July 23, 1941 in Mink Creek, Idaho. His parents were Rulon M. Keller and Margaret Benson Keller. He was the youngest of eight children. When he was 10 years old his family moved to Caldwell, Idaho. He graduated from Caldwell High School where he served as a student body officer and received Basketball All-State and All-American honors. Jim attended Brigham Young University for two years. He then served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1961-64 in the Andes Mission which consisted of the countries of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile.
Upon returning from his mission, he continued his education at BYU, receiving his BS and MS degrees in civil engineering. He completed PhD course work at the University of California at Berkeley and worked at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California.
It was at this time he met Renée Berg who had recently graduated from BYU and had accepted a secretarial position in San Francisco. They enjoyed their dating experiences and a year later they were married on September 3, 1971 in the Idaho Falls Temple. A short time later they moved to Rexburg, Idaho where Jim began working for Forsgren Perkins Engineering. They were blessed with six beautiful children; one daughter and five sons.
Jim was very involved with family activities and spent countless hours coaching baseball and basketball. He had a passion for the outdoors and enjoyed snowmobiling, boating, camping, backpacking and fishing. He taught his sons and daughter the importance of working hard and obtaining an education.
Jim was also very involved in the community. He was the Chairman of the Planning & Zoning Commission for more than a decade, the President of the Consulting Engineers of Idaho and the National Director of the Consulting Engineers Council.
After 20 years of living in Rexburg, Jim and Renée moved the family to Meridian, Idaho, where he founded Keller Associates Engineering Firm. Jim loved his clients and his team at Keller Associates. The company thrived under his leadership, passion and enthusiasm, and today employs nearly 150 people. While in Meridian he also found time to serve on the Parks & Recreation Committee and the Meridian School Board.
He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in many capacities, including scout leader, gospel doctrine teacher and Bishop. Jim and Renée also served two full-time missions in Guadalajara, Mexico and Buenos Aires, Argentina. They also served five years as the Church Service Mission Coordinators for Idaho. They loved serving as temple ordinance workers and did so for many years.
Jim valued higher education and was generous in setting up scholarship funds at BYU-Idaho and BYU. He also believed in people and invested his time and money to help others progress and pursue their goals.
Jim and Renée enjoyed traveling the world, salmon fishing in Alaska with his brother, George and wife, Shareen, and spending time with grandchildren in various activities. They also enjoyed spending countless hours backcountry RZR riding with close friends.
Jim’s was a life of miracles, including living 24 years on his brother’s donated kidney. He enjoyed a full life of adventures and created lasting memories for family and friends.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents, Rulon M. Keller and Margaret Benson Keller; brothers Rulon Benson, Benson James, Lamond Keller, and sisters, MarRue Simmons, Marco Forsgren, and Beth Thompson.
Survivors include his wife, Renée; six children, Stephanie (Dave) Shirley, Todd (Jennifer) Keller, Brandon Keller, Cameron (Erin) Keller, Justin Keller, and Derek (Dayanne) Keller; 21 grandchildren, and one brother, George (Shareen) Keller.
A viewing will be held Friday, May 20, 6-8 pm at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,1950 S. Locust Grove Road, Meridian, Idaho. Funeral services will be on Saturday, May 21 at 11:00 at the same location. A family viewing will precede the services from 10:00-10:45. Final resting place will be at the Hillcrest Memorial Gardens at 15862 South Indiana Avenue, Caldwell, Idaho.
The family would like to thank the many friends, neighbors and medical personnel who have provided support and care during Jim’s illness.
To send flowers to James' family, please visit our floral store.