World War II veteran Colonel Robert S. Keller, 98, of Cocoa Beach, died on June 20
Keller won the Combat Infantry Insignia, Bronze Star and 2 Purple Hearts
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – Colonel (Ret’d) Robert S. Kellar, longtime Cocoa Beach resident, passed away on June 20, Father’s Day, 2021 at the age of 98 .
Bobby, later Bob, was born June 25, 1922 in Watertown, NY, son of Leland and Agnes Kellar. He attended Watertown High School and in 1940 entered Syracuse University College of Forestry and earned a varsity letter on the swim team.
In 1944 he received his ROTC commission and began his military career at Camp Hale, CO, with the 10th Mountain Division. He was deployed in Italy during World War II, obtained the insignia of the combat infantryman, the bronze star and 2 purple hearts.
After his occupation service in Italy, he returned home, enlisted in the Reserves, and married Muriel May Foster on December 9, 1945. He and his wife co-owned the Beaver Camp for Boys in Lowville, New York.
It was activated in 1950 and fought with the 40th Infantry Division in Korea. He then taught 3 years at the Citadel, attended Command and Staff College and decided to change his career path from infantry to aviation. After pilot training, he joined the 3rd Aviation Battalion in Germany at the controls of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
After returning from Germany in 1963, Bob was posted to Fort Benning, Ga., As battalion commander in the new 11th Air Assault Division, which tested the Army’s new airmobile concept. He then took command of the 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion and was sent to Vietnam as part of the new 1st Cavalry Division.
During his tour he received the Bronze Star and 17 Air Medals, one for Valor and his third Purple Heart for injuries. His battalion also received the Presidential Unit Citation.
He returned from Vietnam to serve a year in the Pentagon as an expert on the concept of airmobile, then graduated from the Army War College, commanded the 3rd Infantry Training Brigade Advanced at Fort Jackson, SC , and then served as Director of Aviation Tactics and Director of Training at the Army Aviation Flight Training Center at Hunter Army Airfield, GA.
He returned from a second tour of Vietnam in 1972 and was subsequently assigned to the prestigious post of Chairman of the Army Aviation Test Board. Under his leadership, the military performed critical tests for the development and acquisition of the Blackhawk UH-60 helicopter, which is still in use today.
Whether in combat in three wars as an Infantry or Aviator or as a Senior Staff Officer, his dedication and loyal service to his country is remarkable as a proud member of The Greatest. Generation.
After retiring from the military in 1976, Bob Kellar, his wife Muriel (Babe) and son Robert, Jr., moved to Cocoa Beach where Bob became a licensed real estate agent working at Heritage Realty, then broker and co-owner with his wife and son. of Cocoa Beach Realty, later a Coldwell Banker franchise.
He has served as a commodore of the Cocoa Beach Boating Club, a deacon at the Riverside Presbyterian Church, a member of the board of directors of Emerald Seas Condominium, and has been frequently found on the Manatee Golf Course at Patrick Air Force Base.
His wife passed away in February 2011. He is survived by his daughters, Kathryn Kellar of Cocoa Beach; Karen and her husband LTC (Ret) Thomas Maertens, Jr, of Salem, SC; and his son Robert (Bob), Jr, and his wife Sue of Port Orange, FL; grandchildren McKenna and wife Jenifer Moore; Rochelle and her husband Jeremy Colangelo; Robert (Rob) Kellar, III, and his wife Grace; and 5 great-grandchildren: Jackson, Blake and Avery Colangelo; Ella Kellar; and Wyatt Moore; as well as a sister, Barbara Reinschmidt in Liverpool, NY, and a cousin, Majorie Werhle, as well as several nieces and nephews and their families.
A memorial service will be held at Riverside Presbyterian Church, 3400 N. Atlantic Ave, Cocoa Beach, Fla., At 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 26, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the American Red Cross or your favorite charity in honor of Bob Kellar.
You can sign Mr. Kellar’s guestbook at www.beckmanwilliamson.com.
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