March 7, 1923-May 1, 2012
Palo Alto, California
David Keller, a Palo Alto resident since 1996, died on May 1, at age 89, a few days after his 66th wedding anniversary.
David was born in Turka, Poland, and attended Yeshiva in Oswiecim, Poland. He left when the Jews were chased out for the construction of the Auschwitz Death Camp. He was captured and sent to various concentration camps while he worked on building Reich's Autobahn, the roadways. He is the only member of his extended family to survive the Holocaust.
He met his wife, Luba, also the only Holocaust survivor from her family, at the displaced persons camp in Feldafing, Germany, and they emigrated to the United States in 1947, settling in New York. David worked at Ratner's Dairy Restaurant on the Lower East Side, where he worked himself up from busboy and counterman to waiter, night manager and shop steward. In 1969 he was elected as a Labor Chief of Local One of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Bartenders International Union (now part of UNITE-HERE). He retired in 1985, as a Business Agent, where his territory included Windows on the World restaurant in the World Trade Center. He also served in various leadership roles at Seaview Jewish Center in Canarsie, Brooklyn, and received a certificate in labor relations management from Cornell University.
David lived his life for his family and by the motto, "Do the right thing." He was a selfless and tireless worker. After moving to Palo Alto to be near family, he worked at Bob and Bob's Jewish Books and Gifts store in Palo Alto. He also volunteered serving meals at Avenidas La Comida lunch program. He was a weekly fixture at the Shabbat morning service at Congregation Kol Emeth in Palo Alto, where he cut the challah at the end of services with the speedy professionalism from years of working at Ratner's. His participation at Kol Emeth diminished as health declined. We are grateful for his care at the Avenidas Senior Day Health program. He was also cared for by the Seniors at Home program of the Jewish Family and Children's Service and Pathways Hospice, whose loving care made such a difference at the end of his life.
He is survived by his wife, Luba; sons, Marty (Barbara), Allyn (Jovanna) and Arthur; and grandchildren, Paul (Sasha), Will (Yael), Sophie, Reta, Jordan and Dania.