Richey was born July 28, 1935 in San Antonio, Texas to Arch James Keller and Ruth Kidd Keller. He lived in San Antonio with his parents, but at the age of four, he spent time in Loyal Valley, Texas living with his Uncle Reuben and Aunt Cora Kidd. He used to tell how he rode horseback to the one-room schoolhouse in Loyal Valley. That school has been rehabilitated and still stands today. After living in Loyal Valley, he rejoined his Mother and moved to Uvalde, where he attended high school.
He left Uvalde at the age of 17, striking out for Galveston on his Triumph motorcycle. He always had a smile when he spoke about the Triumph. He was so proud of that bike. He worked at the Balinese Room in Galveston, and often spoke of how the gambling equipment would be pulled up into the ceiling if the police were coming. Galveston remained one of his favorite places in the world. He loved the gumbo, shrimp kisses and the adventures the island offers.
He joined the Air Force in 1954, proudly serving his country on active duty until 1958, followed by a four-year stint in the Reserves. He was last stationed in Little Rock, Arkansas where he met a small-town Louisiana girl Callie O’Neal Hadwin, a nursing student at the Baptist Hospital. They dated, fell in love and were married July 31, 1957. On September 11, 1958, they had a daughter, Kathleen Keller, always “Kat” to Richey. Richey was discharged from the Air Force in October 1958 and they packed up and moved to Uvalde. Callie was officially a Texan at that point, as was their Arkansas-born little girl. Richey attended Southwest Texas Junior College and obtained an Associate Degree.
On December 14, 1962, Richey and Callie were blessed with the birth of Arch James Keller. The family lived in Uvalde on Park Street until 1969, when they moved to Sabinal. The couple bought 40 acres from the Rucker family, using Richey’s GI benefits. They moved a home from Uvalde to Sabinal via truck, and this was the beginning of living in Sabinal. Arch and Kathy both cried when the move to Sabinal was made, but soon grew to love Sabinal, the country, and the freedom to grow up on a small farm.
Richey worked for the Smith Company of Uvalde selling agricultural chemicals, fertilizers, etc. In 1978 he won a sales competition and was rewarded with a trip to Hawaii. Richey and Callie loved Hawaii. In the few years before retirement, Richey worked for the 38th Judicial District Treatment Center in Uvalde as a residential supervisor. During the working years, the couple enjoyed camping, fishing and sailing, spending many weekends at Canyon Lake and Lake Amistad.
Upon retirement, Richey and Callie traveled throughout the United States, including two trips to Alaska and Canada. They loved camping and seeing the sights of this country. They were in Niagara Falls during 9/11. When Arch and Kathy could not reach them by phone, but knew they were in New York state, both agreed “Dad would never be in New York City.”
Unfortunately, Callie passed away in August 2006 from cancer. Losing Callie was a devastating blow. To cope with loneliness Richey signed up for square dancing lessons, where he met Mary Fitzsimon from Quihi. Mary was widowed as well, and the two soon became the best of friends, traveling and going to dinner, and dancing at Quihi Gun Club. Mary has been a blessing to Richey and his family. Mary helped Richey with the loss of Arch in August 2012. She was Richey’s angel on the ground through one of life’s toughest times.
Richey went home to God August 10, 2018, after a battle with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Betty; his wife, Callie; and his son, Arch. He is survived by his sister, Janice Foshee and husband (Harrell) of Robert Lee, Texas; his brother, Homer Keller and wife (Linda) of Austin, Texas ; his daughter, Kathy Keller-Miller and husband (Mark) of Dayton, Texas, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Heaven has gained a soldier.
A funeral service will be held on Friday, August 17, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at Central Christian Church in Sabinal. Interment will follow at Sabinal Cemetery.
I would like to express my condolences and add my prayers for Richey. I worked with him at Smith company and always counted him as a good friend. May God Bless his soul and provide peace and comfort in the broken hearts left behind. God Bless. Tony Hernandez
Tony HernandezUvalde, TX
We cherish the friendship we made with Richey, especially Butch. Fun times we had with Mary FitzSimon and Richey at Quihi, even though that time has seemed so short. Our sincerest sympathy to his daughter Kathy and the rest of the family members and Mary. May God bless you and guide you throughout this difficult time.
Butch and Linda ShoemakerLytle,, TX
My heart is full of many happy memories of Richey.
I take comfort in the love of God, my friends and
family. He will be missed by many.
Mary FitzSimonQuihi, TX