CEDAR POINT — Roy Keller, a 95-year-old World War II veteran, got a birthday parade April 23 marking another year.
One of his daughters, Penny Evans, organized the birthday event, which included visits from family and friends and the parade. Arriving in the parade line was a fire truck and ambulance from the Western Carteret Fire and EMS Department and Cape Carteret Police Chief Bill McKinney.
Ms. Evans said in an email Monday it was a lot of fun and meaningful for all involved.
The parade, she said, moved through Ocean Spray Estates, where Mr. Keller lives, and friends and other well-wishers participated by blowing their vehicles’ horns as they passed the house.
Ms. Evans said her father, who was outside watching, deserved the tribute, and not just because of his military service.
“Anyone you might ask about Roy Keller would say, ‘He's a fine man, a man of integrity, never met a stranger, one of the good guys,’” she said.
Mr. Keller entered the second world war at 17.
“He talked his mother into signing the papers because you should have been 18,” Ms. Evans said. “He convinced her that if he did not join theNavy, he would be drafted into the Army so she agreed to sign for him.”
A native of Goldsboro, Mr. Keller was born April 23, 1924, and served for the duration of the war. He and his wife, Margaret, 88, have been married for 68 years.
After discharge, according to Ms. Evans, he used his GI Bill to attend the Ferree School of Art in Raleigh, commuting from Goldsboro on a scooter or hitchhiking to get there. He graduated with an associate’s degree in art and began painting “anything on anything, including working in the front window of a men's clothing store with his back to the window so folks could see him hand-painting silk ties,” said Ms. Evans, who is also an artist.
Mr. Keller continued to paint on the side when he worked for Southern Bell Telephone as a lineman, then later during a career with DuPont. He retired from DuPont in Kinston at age 58.
Ms. Evans described her father as an advocate for wildlife and a Scoutmaster of 14 years in Kinston.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.