R. Eugene Keel, Class of 1953

Posted Jan 31, 2022

Russell ‘Gene’ Keel ’53 died Dec. 29, 2021. Gene was born March 1, 1931 to the late Russell and Emaline Keel. Gene graduated from West Jefferson High School and Otterbein College where he met his wife Doris McCracken ’56. Gene was part of the Pi Kappa Phi (Country Club) fraternity, football, Leather Helmet Gang and “O” Club.

Gene was a Navy veteran serving during the Korean War. He then started a 34 year career with Jefferson Local Schools. During his tenure, he earned a Master’s degree from Wittenberg University, was a teacher, coach, guidance counselor, and athletic director. He was best know as the head football coach and for starting the great tradition of Roughrider Football. He was inducted into the Ohio Football Coaches Hall of Fame and served as an assistant coach at Capital University, Chillicothe, Hilliard, Teays Valley with a final stop at West Jefferson to culminate 50 years of coaching. Gene other interests include memberships with the American Legion, VFW, Kiwanis, the United Methodist Church, and Columbus Maennerchor. However the titles he was most proud of were husband, dad and gramps.

Along with his parents he was preceded in death by his wife Doris McCracken Keel ’56; sister Marlene Hunter; niece Kim Londos and nephew Chris Hunter. Survived by children; Jeanne (Anthony) Joseph, Joe (Susan) Keel, Julie (Jack) Alcott, and John (Julie) Keel. Grandchildren; Andrew (Kristine), Angie, Erin and Evan Rogers, Michael and Ryan Keel, Josh (Amanda) and Jamie Alcott, Davis, Meredith, and Morgan Keel. Great-grandchildren; Zella, Rory, Sadie, and Emmeline.