Folsom Funeral Service

Keller, Kate

 Keller, Kate

It is with sorrow that we announce the passing of Kate Van Winkle Keller of Westwood, MA on December 11, 2018.  Kitty, as she was known to friends and family, was born on April 28, 1937 in Providence, RI, the daughter of the late Kate Louise (Vondermuhll) and Edward Kingsland Van Winkle, Jr..  She leaves behind beloved husband of nearly 60 years, Robert Monteith Keller (Westwood, MA), daughters Anne Keller Geraci and her partner Joseph St. Martin (Pittsford NY), and Margaret Keller Dimock and her husband Allyn Dimock (Concord MA), as well as sister Anne Van Winkle (Oakland CA), and brothers Peter Kemble Van Winkle (Center Sandwich NH) and Edward Scott Van Winkle (Essex CT), along with grandchildren Elisabeth Leigh Geraci (Boulder CO) and Carolyn Marie Geraci (Burlington VT), and many nieces and nephews.

A graduate of Vassar College, Class of 1959, Kitty did post-graduate work at the Hartford Conservatory of Music. Music and dance were a constant part of her life, as an author, musicologist and historian. Major publications include The Playford Ball, and Dance and Its Music in America, 1528–1789, exemplifying her passion and dedication to recovering and understanding early American Music and Dance. Her proudest achievement was the path breaking work, If the Company can do it!, first presented to the International Early Dance Institute in 1989.  She was an officer and Executive Director of The Society for American Music from 1977 to 2000, representing the Society at the American Council of Learned Societies. Kitty was also a founding member and Research Director of The Colonial Music Institute.

In recognition of her scholarly achievements, Keller was elected to membership in the American Antiquarian Society of Worcester, MA in 2004, given a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 by the Society for American Music, and was named Honorary Member of the Country Dance and Song Society in 1993.

Kitty and Bob spent much of their married life in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland and most recently the retirement community, Fox Hill Village in Westwood Mass. Kitty was a vibrant force in each community in which she lived, embracing the cultural resources and opportunities offered.  At Fox Hill Village, Kitty joined the Westwood Baptist Church Ringers, the Wellesley Community Chorus and the Fox Hill Village Chorus.  She also directed the Fox Hill Ringers, and introduced a weekly country dance to the community.

Kitty loved working in the garden, bird-watching, singing in various choruses, and doing country dance; but she was happiest researching and working on her various dance and music projects.

A memorial service will be held at 3PM on Saturday, January 19, 2019 at First Baptist Church of Westwood, MA.

Guestbook Entries

  1. December 15th, 2018 | 6:39 pm

    Kitty Keller gave those of us who love English Country Dancing many gifts that will always keep her memory in our hearts. How fortunate we are that she loved research and was willing and able to publish what she studied. She will be missed but always remembered with gratitude and fondness.

  2. joan h. sussler
    December 16th, 2018 | 12:14 pm

    In the late 1970’s, Kitty and I worked together at The Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington, where we identified those 18th-century satirical English prints that were not included in the British Museum’s catalogue of holdings. Kitty was diligent, resourceful and objective in her findings and editorial decisions. We were joined closely under the direction of Wilmarth S. Lewis, the founder of the library and the inspiration for our concerted efforts. Upon his death in 1979, Mr. Lewis bequeathed the library and its grounds to Yale University. Today, nearly all of the many thousands of satires in the Lewis collection are available for study On the university’s website.

    Kitty’s many contributions to our research will be remembered and treasured, not only by me but by everyone who knew her at the library. Her focus and determination, her ability to solve a problem with steady foresight and application, was only matched by her never failing honesty. For all of the above, please know that Kitty will remain in my mind as an ever living model.

    At this sad time, may I extend my sincere condolences on the loss of your dear Kitty, a truly remarkable person.

  3. Evelyn Blumberg
    December 16th, 2018 | 2:14 pm

    We are very sorry to learn of Kitty’s passing. She was a lovely lady. We met when I was a member of the Foxhill chorus. We send our very sincere sympathy to you at this very sad time.
    Evelyn and Leon Blumberg

  4. Dianne Schlitzer
    December 17th, 2018 | 7:30 pm

    Dearest Bob and family, We were deeply saddened to hear of the loss of such an inspirational woman. Kitty brought such joy, motivation, knowledge, humor, kindness and love to everyone she met. Her mastery of accomplished artistry truly reflected her inspirational spirit. She welcomed you into her home as part of the family, always willing to add a plate to the dinner table. She empowered your senses by cultivating your mind with knowledge. Her personality and friendship was a true blessing in my life, a gift of memories I will always cherish. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Dianne Schlitzer and family

  5. Jean Eagleson
    December 20th, 2018 | 7:02 pm

    Sending our love, prayers and sincere sympathy, from the MHS, Class of 1952.

    Our thoughts are with you, at this difficult time, Bob..

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Folsom Funeral Service

Folsom Funeral Service