Kent Keller

Kent KellerKent Keller died recently in Estes Park, Colorado. After Yale Divinity School (1962) and ordination as a Presbyterian minister, Kent served as pastor to congregations in Rochester, Denver, Portland IN and Hastings MI. Interfaith cooperation was central to his lifelong ministry; he founded an interracial and ecumenical congregation in Denver in the 1960s. His ecumenical thinking was strongly influenced by theologians (Martin Luther, John Calvin, Paul Tillich) and political activists (Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel, Bill Coffin). He was active in the Civil Rights movement and was a strong advocate for women’s rights and environmental stewardship. Kent was also a determined mountaineer. His 900 (!) ascents included Mt. Rainer, the Grand Teton, the Matterhorn, Mera Peak in the Himalayas (21,000 feet; 1992) and, at age 60, Mt. Aconcagua (22,835 feet) in the Andes. Over a 59-year period he climbed all of Colorado’s “14ers,” the nine most difficult climbs coming after his 70th birthday. He attributed this to “poor planning.” He travelled widely in Europe and Asia as well as the US. In richly detailed and illustrated Christmas letters, he kept up with a wide circle of friends, classmates and colleagues. For those who shared his love of the mountains, he would sign off “Berg heil!” He is survived by Janet, his devoted wife of 56 years, his sister, three children, four grandchildren and many, many friends.