William “Bill” LeRoy Kehler

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William “Bill” LeRoy Kehler

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Bill Kehler
Bill Kehler

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.

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0 thoughts on “William “Bill” LeRoy Kehler”

  1. Bill touched so many lives in the Library community. I considered him a friend and we always visited when we would see each other. Hugs and prayers for the family. We will all have sweet memories of Bill to keep in our hearts.

  2. Bill was a good and wonderful friend. I enjoyed working with him at both EMC and Rocky. It was a real pleasure to have been his friend and know that he enjoyed his and my cat as well as hig dogs and trees! Sincere condolences to the family;I know you will miss hiim

  3. Bill was like a brother to me, fast friends since our teens. I’ll never watch Jeopardy without thinking of him. Remembering all the fun, fond times we had, miss you, Billy…

  4. Bill touched the lives of many many of us students at RMC–especially those of us lucky enough to get to work with him in the library. Thanks for helping so many if us along the way, Bill.

  5. Bill and Joy Braggs

    What a kind and gentle spirit Bill was. He helped anybody he could and then some. He left so many friends who will miss him let alone his family. We are so happy to have had him as our friend and so sad to see him go. Our deepest sympathy to Bill’s family, especially Marlene, who did as much as a sister could do. Go in peace and love. Vaya con Dios
    Love Bill and Joy
    Phoenix, AZ

  6. Patty Slattery Delaney

    Billy was one of the most fun and interesting individuals I have ever known. He and my brother Mike and my sister-in-law Daisy would come up with the most unusual ways to have a good time. I so appreciate my sister Beth who has visited Billy weekly and helped him with mailings etc. He will be missed.

  7. Linda DeRosier and Cindy Kunz

    Linda Scott DeRosier – “Bill was everything a person should be.” The Institute for Peace Studies at RMC seconds this sentiment. He will be missed.

  8. Billy was one of my best friends growing up. He and I were classmates since 7th grade at St. Xavier and then in Hardin High School and then on through EMC. We had many classes together, but while I studied, he didn’t even bother to buy the class text. He had one of the sharpest minds and the craziest senses of humor! His smile and little giggle would lighten anyone’s mood and he could remember any piece of information/trivia. He astounded me and I loved him dearly. He brighten my life and the lives of many others. I will miss you the rest of my life! Good bye, “B”.

  9. Billy is one of the kindest people I have ever meet! I loved when he and my Uncle Mike would Billy would hang with us kids. Thinking of you all!

  10. Bill was a wonderful boss when I attended MSU-Billings and worked in the Inter library Loan Department. Such a great man and boss. I learned a lot in that department and we all had a such a fun time. Glad that I meet you, Bill. May you Rest In Peace!

  11. Bill was a long time member of Good Earth Market – that’s where I met him and got to know him. He had an infectious smile and was always a delight to chat with. The last time I saw him he was enjoying great food from the GEM deli. We will miss him.

  12. Billy was a one of a kind. I was lucky enough to spend great times with Billy while we were living in Phoenix. He was always kind, honest, oh so smart, and up for enjoying laughter and adventures with his friends, times I will never forget. Wonderful man.

  13. Cindy Watkins Bye

    Bill was always such a happy person, with a wonderful smile, even through his illnesses. My sister, Vicky, and I worked with him at the Northern Hotel in the 70s. We also took a fun trip to see the Follies in Virginia City. I knew Bill from Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Billings, too, and I just talked to him on the phone in September. I had no idea his days were so numbered. I feel blessed to have known Bill, and he will remain in my heart.

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