On Oct. 26, 2015, William “Bill” LeRoy Kehler passed away at Aspen Meadows, after a long battle with Type 1 Diabetes and Addison’s complications.
William LeRoy Kehler was born in Hardin to Richard and Esther (Schaak) Kehler Sr. on Dec. 26, 1949, the same day, four years earlier, his older brother, Richard “Dicky” Kehler Jr. was born on.
Bill attended grade school at St. Xavier up to eighth grade, and graduated from Hardin High School in 1967. He furthered his education by graduating from Eastern Montana College (now known as MSUB) with a bachelor of science degree. Bill taught school in Phoenix, Ariz., for a very short time, and then worked in the Phoenix area for 11 years. Returning to Billings, he pursued his career in academic librarianship.
While attaining his master’s in library science from the University of Arizona, he worked at the EMC Library’s Interlibrary Loan Department from 1985 to 1995. After getting his master’s, he was employed at the Rocky Mountain College until his retirement in 2013. He first served as assistant librarian until becoming the director of the Paul M. Adams Library at RMC. He truly loved his profession.
He was involved in several local, state and national environmental groups, library organizations and equal rights causes. Bill was chosen as Employee of the Year at EMC. He was active in the Environmental Awareness Club and faculty advisor at RMC, where he was instrumental in planting trees every year on Earth Day at each campus. There remains a tree on both campuses planted in his honor.
Bill loved to travel. He traveled in Europe, Canada, Mexico and most of the major cities in the 50 United States. Along the way, he made numerous friends and had kept in touch with most of them. In addition, he had many talents, including painting, was a tough Scrabble player and a puzzle wiz. He had a phenomenal memory, recalling movies and music that he had seen or heard. He had a great sense of humor, honesty and fairness. We will greatly miss you, Bill, and your stoic presence. You can rest in peace beside Dad and Mom; they have been waiting for you. You are free now to fly with the angels. May God keep you and bless you.
He loved nature and animals, and was always a country boy at heart. He enjoyed going to the St. Xavier farm/ranch, where his parents resided until their passing. He felt at home with the ducks in the pond, rabbits on the lawn, squirrels in the trees and a roaming deer now and then while residing at Spring Creek Village in Billings.
Bill was preceded in death by both of his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins on both sides of his family, and lifelong friend Mike Slattery.
He is survived by his sister, Marlene (Jim) Davis; brother Richard Jr. aka Dicky (Mary Ellen) Kehler; nephews Travis, Kelly (Jill), Spencer (Rhea); niece Alice Davis; plus great-nieces and nephews, Alexandra, Levi, Jessica, Madison and Justin; and maternal uncle Ray (Marilyn) Schaak; plus numerous cousins, including Chuck (Sue) Laber of Denver. Also the many, many dear friends he had during his lifetime.
A special thank you to the staff at Aspen Meadows and to Beth Krkosa for all of their loving care.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave., with visitation one hour prior to service. Burial will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, at Fairview Cemetery in Hardin.
Memorials may be made to your local Animal Shelter or Diabetes Association.