In Memoriam – Anne Keppler

HOLYOKE – Anne Greneker Fisher Keppler, 92, formerly of Northampton, died July 11, 2016, at the Loomis Nursing Center in Holyoke, at the end of a long life well lived.

Anne was born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1924 to Charles Page and Annie Wright Fisher. She graduated from the University of Richmond, where she met the love of her life, Philip Keppler Jr. The two were married in 1946 following his return from duty with the Army in Europe. They moved to New York City, where she worked while he finished his undergraduate degree, then to Princeton, New Jersey, for his graduate studies. For the next five years, they remained in Princeton, where she gave birth to the first two of their four children.

In 1952, Anne and Philip took their young family and moved to Northampton, where he had accepted a faculty position in the music department at Smith College. The family continued to grow, adding two more children over the next decade. A sabbatical year in 1960 saw Anne and Philip depart for Europe, with minimal funds and luggage, and three small children. The family lived in Germany and England before returning home with expanded perspectives in 1961. Anne would stay in Northampton until she moved to Loomis House in Holyoke in the fall of 2012.

Following her husband’s untimely death in 1970, Anne made a smooth transition from homemaker to professional, taking a job in the admissions department at Smith and rapidly rising to become the director of financial aid, a position she held and loved until her retirement. She thrived on the challenges of her work and cherished her interaction with students and their families, as well as with those who worked with and around her, several of whom became close lifelong friends. She was instrumental in the launch and dedicated to the mission of the Ada Comstock Program for nontraditional college-age students, and has remained in contact with a number of “her Adas” ever since.

Known to some of the younger generations as Maude, Anne was genuinely interested in the lives of those around her and widely beloved. Her intelligence, insight and warmth made her a natural councilor, even a surrogate parent to some of those who were lucky enough to know her. She also served as a good example, living up to her own standards and ideals, acting on what she knew to be right and always striving to do her best for others.

Anne was active in the community, and sought the company of others, particularly other women, who were equally interested, educated and engaged. She took part in area organizations, notably including the Round Hill Club, the League of Women Voters, and the Readers and Thinkers book club. Retiring from Smith in 1989, she expanded her activities, contributing her time and talents to Arcadia, Forbes Library, the Survival Center, the Senior Center, the Smith College greenhouse and the SHINE Program, among others. Her positive impact on the world and people around her will far outlast her own life.

Anne was predeceased by her brothers Page and Willie, in addition to her husband and parents. She leaves five children and their families, daughter Catherine and husband Mark Gaydos of Greenfield, along with their daughters Carrie and Luba; son John and his wife Kim Fine of West Chesterfield, New Hampshire; daughter Lise of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; son Peter and wife Debra of Katonah, New York, as well as Peter’s children Taylor and Will; and son Charles Morin of Florence. Her extended family also includes several beloved nieces and nephews as well as a number of old and dear friends, and in recent years the many people who cared for her so well at Loomis House.

According to Anne’s wishes, there will be no formal service or visitation. A private interment with her immediate family will be followed at a future date by a celebration of her life that will be open to all who knew her.

She would be pleased to have donations in her memory be made to an organization of the donor’s choice.

Published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette on July 14, 2016.