Caroline Murphy Keller WinterInglewood Plantation, LA
Funeral Service for Caroline Murphy Keller Winter will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 27, 2014, in St. James Episcopal Church, with The Reverend Dr. Christoph Keller III, The Reverend James G. Theus and The Reverend Steven C. Bonsey officiating. Interment will follow in Greenwood Memorial Park under the direction of John Kramer & Son Funeral Home. Visitation will be held in the Parish Hall from 9:30 a.m. until time of service.
Caroline Murphy Keller Winter, known to all as Polly, died peacefully in her home on Inglewood Plantation Sunday, September 21, 2014. Mrs. Winter was born January 5, 1922 in El Dorado, Ark. She was a daughter of Charles H. Murphy and Bertie Wilson Murphy. She graduated from El Dorado High School and attended Mary Baldwin College before marrying her husband of 55 years, the late Christoph Keller Jr., June 22, 1940.
In 1950 Mrs. Winter and her three siblings, Theodosia Murphy Nolan, Charles H. Murphy, Jr. and Bertie Murphy Deming founded Murphy Oil Corporation, headquartered in El Dorado, Arkansas. In 1955, Mrs. Winter moved with her husband and children to New York City where her husband attended General Theological Seminary. He was later ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. Over the years she moved with her husband and family to Harrison, Arkansas, Jackson, Mississippi, and Little Rock, Arkansas where the Rev. Mr. Keller served as rector of parishes in Harrison and Jackson and as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas in Little Rock. Mrs. Winter was active in social, cultural and philanthropic affairs in all of these communities. She was a founding member of the Arkansas Community Foundation. As board chairman of the Arkansas Symphony, Mrs. Winter breathed new life into a fledgling institution and through her leadership established a $300,000 endowment in 1980 that has grown substantially and provided on going support for the symphony since its inception. She served on the boards of the Episcopal Radio/TV Foundation and the General Theological Seminary, both of New York City.
After her husband's retirement in 1980, the Kellers moved to Inglewood Plantation in Alexandria, Louisiana, the place where they had begun their marriage. At that time, the house had no electricity and was in disrepair, but the new bride embraced life on the farm with true grit, recognized by all as one of the defining qualities of her character. Upon retirement in Alexandria Mrs. Winter was a founding member of The Shepherd Center, a social service agency and of Hope House, a residential training center for homeless women. She also served on the board of the Rapides Symphony. In 1990 she was a founding member of the Mid South Foundation addressing economic, educational and social needs in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Mrs. Winter was also involved in Kairos, a prison ministry to inmates and provided financial support to the Louisiana Prison Chapel Foundation, Inc.
In 1998 Mrs. Winter established Keller Enterprises, LLC, a family business incorporating venture farming, venture capital and venture philanthropy. It was her fervent hope that Inglewood would become a shared interest of the succeeding generations of Kellers and that hope has been realized in the on -going process of the conversion of the farm to sustainable practices under the direction of Mrs. Winter's children and grandchildren. Mrs. Winter loved seeing the new organic farm business take root on Inglewood, and believed that environmental stewardship and running a good, profitable business could be brought together. She was a dedicated birder and took a particular interest in the efforts of the International Crane Foundation in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to reintroduce a population of Whooping Cranes in Louisiana the historic habitat of the species.
After Bishop Keller's death, Mrs. Keller married Clark. B. Winter of New York City in 1996. As in her first marriage, her years with Mr. Winter were characterized by joyous family celebrations and shared adventures. They enjoyed ten joyful years of travel and life together and especially loved bringing their two large families together as one.
Mrs. Winter was preceded in death by her husbands Christoph Keller, Jr. and Clark B. Winter and by an infant daughter, Martha Calvert Keller and her daughter Cornelia Flagg Keller as well as by her grandson, Corwith Davis III. She is survived by her children, Caroline Keller Gilliland Theus, Cynthia Keller Davis, Kathryn Keller Anderson, The Rev. Dr. Christoph Keller III and Elisabeth Wilson Keller and by her grandchildren, Elizabeth G. Fennell, Jonathan L. Gilliland, Robertson H. Gilliland, Caroline F. Davis, Cynthia Henebry, J. Christoph Stutts, Rachel A. Timmons, Jesse K. Timmons, Hannah K. Timmons, Mary Olive Keller, T. Christoph Keller, Noah C. Bonsey, Samuel W. Bonsey, Josiah B. Bonsey and Anna C. Bonsey. Mrs. Winter is also survived by the children of Clark Winter: Betsy W. Lane, Clark Winter, Jr. Duncan Winter, and Schuyler Winter to whom Mrs. Winter was a devoted friend and by the Winter grandchildren Nick Lane, Alex Lane, Clark Lane, Clark Winter III, Cristina Winter, Phillip Winter, Cornelia Reynolds, Lauren Winter, Schuyler Winter Jr, Robbie Winter, Andrew Winter and Patrick Winter and by 14 beloved Keller great-grandchildren and five beloved Winter great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers send memorial gifts to St. James Episcopal Church in Alexandria, the Good Food Project of the Central Louisiana Food Bank, The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation Whooping Crane Project or the Rapides Symphony. To extend online notes of condolence to the Keller-Winter Families, please visit us at www.kramerfunerals.com.
Published September 25, 2014