The Rev. Theodore Keller, 93, who grew up attending St. Peter Catholic Church and continued serving the church throughout his retirement, died Saturday at St. Joseph Hospital.
Keller celebrated the 70th anniversary of his ordination in October, making him the longest-ordained priest in the Lexington diocese.
During the years before his retirement, he served at parishes in Latonia, Frankfort, Winchester and Ashland. For 25 years, he taught in high schools in the Covington diocese, which he said was one of his favorite parts of ministry.
He had lived at the rectory at St. Peter Church since 1994, when he retired from active ministry.
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For more than two decades of retirement, he continued to celebrate Mass and hear confession at the church regularly, filling in when the church’s pastor was out and becoming a beloved fixture among parishioners.
Keller was born in Lexington on Feb. 28, 1924, and he said he remembered seeing the stones piled up that would become St. Peter Catholic Church.
It was the same church where he was confirmed, and, in 1946, where he was ordained to the priesthood.
Tyrell Keller remembered his brother as a quiet, reserved man who was also “very people-oriented” and had a gift of bringing peace to those in distress.
“He was a very determined person” who was a strong supporter of peace and the pro-life movement, Tyrell Keller said.
The funeral Mass, conducted by Lexington Bishop John Stowe, will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Peter Church. Visitation begins at 10 a.m.