Published 9:18 am Saturday, October 31, 2020
Beverly Jean Keeler, born on Nov. 4, 1932, was the youngest surviving child of Dowagiac fire chief, Earl Clayton Keeler and Hazel Mae Everhart.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Howard Curtis; three brothers, Earl Jr., Wilbur and Lester; two sisters, Zilpha (Rutherford) and Yvonne (Greenman); and infant twin siblings, Donald and Doris.
On Oct. 6, 2020, Beverly died at home, in her daughter’s care, voices and touch of many dear visitors still in the air. Beverly, whose husband of 67 years, Howard, passed away earlier this year, is survived by her five children, Stephen (Emilie Hagerman) Curtis, Michael (Denise Brinker) Curtis, Jeffery (Jane Parmeter) Curtis, Andrea Curtis Rothney and David (Andrea Gerlach) Curtis; 12 grandchildren, Megan (Galovich) and Stephenie Curtis, Joshua and Isaac Curtis, Ty, Elise (Dull), and Liam Curtis, Maggie, Ian and Elena Rothney and Ashleigh and Tayler Curtis; 13 great-grandchildren; in-laws, Kelly Roberts Curtis, Ric Rothney and Cindy Moore Rahn; and by beloved nieces and nephews.
Beverly graduated from Dowagiac Union High School in 1951 and was recruited, via high test scores, to service with the FBI. When her mother died, she abandoned this dream, choosing to stay near her widowed father. She worked in Dowagiac as a telephone operator.
On Jan. 24, 1953, Beverly married Howard Marion Curtis. They reveled in dancing together, time with family and friends and shaping their children to be thoughtful, capable and independent.
Bev and Howard raised their family while moving frequently across Wisconsin and Michigan for Howard’s career. They left behind dear GTE friends in Muskegon, Imlay City and Adrian. Once the kids were all in school, Bev worked for the General Telephone Co. Credit Union, earned an associate degree and accounting certificate (Summa Cum Laude) from Glen Oaks Community College and had a 20 plus year career at First National Bank in Three Rivers, including several years as an effective and well-liked branch manager. She and Howard loved traveling all over the U.S., including to Alaska and Hawaii, to Caribbean beaches and extensively in Germany and neighboring European countries. For many years, they wintered at Brittany Estates in Sanford, Florida.
For her family, Bev was the quiet, solid core, running a stable and loving home open to all and facilitating and cheering-on their endeavors. From scouting and church helper, school room mother, theater, music and sports fan, to sewing outfits, hosting parties and chaperoning trips, Beverly could be counted on. Though she could sing well, play piano and was intellectually and artistically skilled, Bev preferred cheering from the audience and volunteering behind the scenes.
Since 1963, she was active in the Presbyterian Church, serving as a deacon and honored with the Presbyterian Women’s Lifetime Member award.
A celebration of the lives of both Beverly and Howard Curtis is scheduled at 2 p.m. on Nov. 7, 2020, at their home, 330 S. Grant Ave., Three Rivers.
Memorials may be directed, via Hohner Funeral Home, to the Domestic Assault Shelter or First Presbyterian Church in Three Rivers.