Bio: Keller, Marie (Recognition - 1975)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Keller, Olson, Shield, Lulloff, Sturtz

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 6/26/1975

Keller, Marie (Recognition - 1975)

There’s no Pie-in-the-Sky for Marie

Bowls of potatoes that numbered 8,400. Several tons of steaming chicken, pork and beef. And 40,500 pieces of pie.

It’s enough to make any restaurant owner smile with pride, but it was something more for an eighty-plus year old Neillsville woman who was honored Monday evening at a testimonial dinner in Neillsville.

At the table of recognition was Marie Keller, who was being feted for cooking meals for the Neillsville Rotary Club for the past 27 years. Marie recently announced her retirement from the weekly duties.

The dinner saw approximately 60 men and women, including present and past Rotarians, Mayor Kenneth Olson and his wife and family members of Marie present.

Leading the topic of conversation for members was Marie’s pies, a skill that most everybody in the know around the Neillsville area talked about as something that Marie could do better than anyone.

But her pies were just a part of the reason for the banquet honoring the still active woman; it was her outlook on life and communication with Rotarians, Kiwanis and other club groups for which she cooked.

In one of the testimonials by Don Shield, president elect of the Neillsville Rotary, Marie was the kind of woman who offered just a little bit more to life.

He stated, after making another of those bragging about Marie’s pie making ability, that he was not fond of rhubarb pies, cakes or any other concoctions that the stalky growth was mixed into.

“It was my first meeting as a Rotarian,” Shield stated. He had heard about Marie’s cooking and especially her pies and was awaiting the final treat of the meal when out came the rhubarb pie. Don left the red colored pie sitting on his plate, not eating a bit of what everybody else was gobbling up in a speedy style.

After the dinner was completed, Marie approached new member Don and asked if something was wrong with the pie. He soon explained his dislike for rhubarb.

Rhubarb pie was served at many meals that the Rotary attended with Marie as cook, Don stated. “At every meal where there was rhubarb pie, Marie always saw to it that I got a piece of apple. That’s the kind of woman she was.”

Another Rotarian stated that after being a member of the club for 33 years, Marie had become a mother to the group. It was this idea that permeated the entire testimonial dinner.

Marie was presented a plaque detailing her years of work, her being adopted as a mother, and wishes for many more years. The club also presented a gift to her and older members joined together in a cash contribution.

One of the biggest surprises at the event during the presentation of the plaque to Marie by Bob Lulloff was the announced interruption of a broadcast from WCCN.

In a specially prepared presentation by Howie Sturtz, owner of the station, a several minute honor was read to Marie and listeners. It was the station staff’s way of saying thanks for Christmas favor that Marie had given to the group for many years … boxes of cookies.

Marie is done with the bowls of potatoes, servings of meats and portions of home-made pie.

And Marie is done with the mountain of dirty dishes and the gentle kidding of the club members she served for almost thirty years.

But the club members will never be done with Marie. She’s ma-ma to them and her pies will be missed forever … now to become legend from times gone past.




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