Larry Lester (Amaq) Keller
Larry (Amaq) Keller passed away on February 19 at home in Virginia. A memorial service is scheduled in Anchorage, Alaska at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 19 at the Alaska Native Lutheran Church (Central Lutheran), 1420 Cordova Street. His graveside service will be at 2:30 p.m. at Ft. Richardson National Cemetery. Vehicles need to be at the gate at 2:15 p.m. for escort.
Larry was born on January 21, 1951 in Nome, Alaska to Lester and Martha (Avessuk) Keller, the eldest son of six children. Raised in Nome, he learned his Inupiaq knowledge of the land and helped put food on the table by traditional subsistence hunting.
In 1990, he engaged a career in real estate, earning his Realtor license, and then his Associate Broker license. He was a consummate professional, a skilled negotiator and always put the best interests of his clients first.
In 1992, Larry enrolled at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, where he graduated summa cum laude with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Small Business Administration.
In 1996, Larry was elected to the Sitnasuak Native Corporation board of directors. He served for 12 years, including two years on the Land Committee. He was also a Sitnasuak Foundation director for four years, and served three years as treasurer. Larry had a keen sense of purpose and used his education to promote self-determination, strong leadership and business savvy within the management teams of the Alaska Native corporate and non-profit entities of the Bering Straits region.
From 2010 to 2014, Larry was employed as Shareholder Liaison with Sitnasuak Native Corporation, first in Anchorage, then teleworking from Virginia.
Larry was adept at communication, and maintained effective outreach and response to SNC shareholders in Alaska and the Lower 48. He advocated grooming young shareholders for leadership and helped implement SNC’s Intern Training Program. Larry was well-respected and will be remembered for his love of the land, commitment to cultural responsibilities, and advocacy for higher education as the path to self-determination.
Larry enjoyed hunting, camping, fishing with family, and subsistence activities at the family campsite southeast of Nome. He was a gifted ivory carver and woodworker. He carved beautiful, unique ivory pieces and jewelry for his loved ones. He also crafted a variety of custom furniture, which included coffee tables, nightstands, book and display cases.
Larry is survived by his wife Nancy Gray-Keller, daughter Leilani and son Chase; brothers Lester, and Bill; sisters Louise Bauman, Wanda Asta Keller (Tom Panamaroff), and their beloved families; sisters-in-law Andre Leopoldo, and Jennie Gray. Larry was preceded in death by his parents Lester and Martha Keller; and his sister Mary (Andrew) Miller.
The family wishes to convey its profound gratitude to the organizations and compassionate people who blessed us with prayers and support during this difficult time, including many friends and family, the church family of Nome Lutheran Church, Alaska Native Lutheran Church in Anchorage, Sitnasuak Native Corporation and Bering Straits Native Corporation.