Otto C. Keil (July 23, 1918 - February 26, 2012)
Otto Charles Keil, Jr of Douglas Hollow Rd, died on Sunday February 26th at home. Otto was born in Washington, DC on July 23, 1918. He was the son of the late Otto C. and Florence Pickett Keil. Raised in Decatur, IL, the oldest of four siblings, two brothers and a sister, he was an Eagle Scout and was active in church and community activities from an early age. He graduated from Purdue University in 1941 with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
In World War II, he designed radar equipment for the Navy in Boston at the MIT Radiation Laboratory. He was inducted into the army, but his war work was considered so vital he was given an exemption from serving in the armed forces by President Roosevelt.
In 1941 Mr. Keil married Harriet Elizabeth Robertson from Wichita, Kansas. They had two daughters, Sandra Keil Brown and Cheryl Lynn Keil. After a divorce he later married Mildred Kunzig
Mr. Keil worked for Philco Corporation in Philadelphia where as Chief Engineer; he oversaw the design and development of television, radio, stereo products. He was the Head Designer of Philco televisions. In 1960 Ford Motor Company purchased Philco, and Mr. Keil continued there as Chief Engineer: Auto Radio with global responsibility for all Ford vehicle radio and stereo design. Mr. Keil supervised 155 engineers at Ford.
Mr. Keil frequently traveled to Detroit to report project progress to Henry Ford and Lee Iaccoca, and knew both of them quite well. He traveled widely throughout the world to supervise the manufacture of electronic parts.
In 1977 Mr. Keil took early retirement from Ford and moved to his beloved farm in Douglas Hollow in Mehoopany, PA. Previously, the farm had been a deer hunting venue for Mr. Keil, and over time he rebuilt the house and added a large shop outbuilding. He became an active farmer, raising steers and chickens, which he balanced with his work in the community. An accomplished cook, his pumpkin pies, German potato salad, bread and butter pickles, and homemade bread were sought for community pot luck suppers, holiday feasts and guests. His buckwheat blueberry pancakes were renown, and he personally picked the blueberries. He taught adult Sunday school at the Methodist church, traced his family ancestry in Germany, loved ballet, and was an accomplished ballroom dancer who loved to waltz, played the guitar on the radio in his high school years in Decatur, and was drum major with the marching band there. He loved hiking the hills of Douglas Hollow.
Rotary was an essential and enormous aspect of Mr. Keil’s life in Wyoming County. He was committed to helping others, and fervently embraced Rotary’s mission. He served as a District Governor in 1986-87, and was an influential leader and generous contributor for all his years in the Tunkhannock region. He took pride in his regular attendance, and worked hard to achieve Rotary goals, locally and globally.
Many, many other organizations benefited from his dedication, ideas and energy. Tyler Hospital, Regional Girl Scouts, Planned Parenthood, the Historical Society, and United Way to name just a few of the many. He was often a hard working board member of these organizations, as well as a financial contributor.
Mr. Keil is survived by his second wife Mildred Kunzig Keil, his daughters, Sandra Brown and Sherry Robertson, his grandson, Jonathan Brown, Jonathan’s wife Alison, two great grandsons, Hudson and Griffin, as well as his step children Robin Stewart, Leslie Wibel and Bruce Wright, and their children and grandchildren.