2018-08-22 / Obituaries

Walter Keller

Walter H. Keller, a long time area chef, died August 17, 2018 at Kingston Hospital after a brief illness.

Born and raised in Switzerland, the son of Oskar and Jeanne Keller, Walter had an older brother, Jacques and two younger sisters, Denise and Cecelia. In his teens he played soccer, did amateur boxing in lightweight classes and pedaled to and from school and work on his three-speed bicycle.

He started his chef career after high school and worked his way thru apprenticeship and culinary school in Switzerland to become Executive Chef in first class hotels and famous restaurants. Walter worked first in Switzerland, the Caribbean and eventually New York City at such legendary spots as Long Champs Empire State Building, Tower Suite Time and Life Building, Rainbow Room, Grill Rockefeller Center and Charlie O’s.

Moving to the Catskills 1970 Walter and his wife, Jackie, learned that Roxbury Run in Denver was looking for somebody to turn the clubhouse into a Restaurant.

With his enthusiasm and knowledge, Walter and Jackie created “Roxbury Run Restaurant – Swiss American Cuisine” featuring all the dishes that would become very popular with the local clientele, second home owners and four season tourists alike. His escargots was so well liked that customers would report back to him they had tried to find the equivalent in far and near corners of the globe without success.

Binnekill Square Restaurant in Margaretville was added to their “domain” in 1980. Because of its in-village location, that became equally successful if not more so, featuring live music and becoming a gathering place for anybody looking for friends, neighbors, great food and drink with good service and a good time.

Besides working hard and long hours, Walter was an avid skier participating in Chefs Races and local races. As soon as the snow melted he would “hop” on his bicycle to do an almost daily “Tour du Lac” (Pepecton Reservoir) for rest and relaxation and inspiration. For quite some years he enjoyed parachute Jumping. Walter was proud of his Jumpmaster certification and of some 75-second delay free-falls exiting at 15,000-foot altitude.

He was looking forward to his annual trips to Mallorca, Spain where he’d meet his friends from Europe and USA for daily bike rides, camaraderie, great Spanish food and wine.

Walter will be missed by many but most of all by his wife of 53 years, Jacqueline, “Jackie” Keller.

A celebration of Walter’s life will be held on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 26, from 4-6 p.m. at the Hilt & Stella Kelly Hall at the Roxbury Arts Center on Vega Mt. Road in Roxbury.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Roxbury Fire Department and EMS Service. Walter and his family were very thankful to them, and to the Margaretville Hospital ER staff and the Kingston Hospital staff for the great care they provided. Cremation arrangements have been handled by the Hynes Funeral Home.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2018-08-22 digital edition