Obituary, Joan Frances Benson Keller

Joan Frances Benson Keller, 90, died peacefully on Monday, March 11, 2024, at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, New York. She was born at Sharon Hospital on February 25, 1934, the last of five children and the only one born in a hospital. She was the daughter of the late Hazel Frances Woodin Benson and Robert Oxley Benson, Sr.

Joan graduated from Dover High School in 1951. She married Robert Joseph Keller on April 25, 1954, at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. Together, Joan and Bob raised five children on their dairy farm in Dover Plains, NY, where she worked as the bookkeeper until the 1980s. She loved being outdoors and was an avid gardener. Over the years, Joan attended many events supporting her family in all of their endeavors. Later in life, she enjoyed watching women’s basketball from home. She took great pride in witnessing her family’s growth, living to meet 13 of her great-grandchildren. Joan recently celebrated her 90th with a birthday bash surrounded by her family and friends from near and far.

Outside of the home, Joan was a devout member of the United Methodist Church of Dover Plains, where she served as its first female trustee and remained active until its closure. She took great pride in organizing the church’s smorgasbord dinners and loved supporting events and fundraisers in her local community.

Joan was predeceased by her loving husband of 57 years, Bob, her beloved son, Robert Louis Keller, and her grandson, Tyler Joseph Cody. Joan was the matriarch of the family and is survived by her four children: Jacolyn Joan Cody and her husband, Eugene, of Chippewa Falls, WI; Melvin D. Keller and wife, Jennifer, of Dover Plains, NY; Jennifer J. Mallory and special friend, Jeffrey Cantele, of Leesville, SC; and Margaret Keller Yates and husband, Mark, of Pawling, NY. She is also survived by her loyal daughter-in-law, Virginia Heaton Keller, of Venice, FL.

Joan’s legacy lives on in her nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren: Kristin Keller Greiner and her husband, John, and their children Nolan and Louise Joan; Caitlin Keller Heineman and her husband, Jon, and their children Robert and Catherine; Claire Keller Sikora and her husband, Ted, and their children Westley and Bruce; Jason Keller and his children Owen, Wyatt, and Lane; Lizbeth Keller Jones and her husband, Timothy, and their children Jolie, Jacob, and Chloe; Andrew Keller and his wife, Hannah, and their child John; Kyle Cody and his wife Courtney; Ava Mae Yates; and Emily Yates.

She is also survived by five step-grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren: Amy and Josh Cartwright and their children Sawyer, Brynnlin, Bristol, and Cashton; Christina and Justin Richter and their children Jameson and Cayden; Ryan and Becky Cody and their children Maxon and McKenzie; Michael Mallory; and Candie and David Garrison and their children Will and Luke.

The youngest of five, Joan was the last surviving sibling. She was welcomed home by her three older brothers, Robert Benson, Melvin Benson, and Douglas Benson, as well as her best friend and big sister, Nina Benson Kelly. She was also predeceased by her sister-in-law, Virginia Keller Higgins, and her husband, Tom. Joan leaves behind a vibrant family full of loving nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

In addition to the medical providers who tended to Joan, the family would like to thank the following individuals who took incredible care of her until the very end: Deb, Tani, Jaime, Bea, and Ellen.
Calling hours will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, March 15, 2024 at the Hufcut Funeral Home, 3159 Route 22, Dover Plains, NY. Funeral services will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 16, 2024 at the Sharon United Methodist Church, 112 Upper Main Street, Sharon, CT. Burial will follow at St. Charles Cemetery in Dover Plains. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to one of the following in celebration of Joan’s dedication to the community: Sharon United Methodist Church, 112 Upper Main St., Sharon, CT 06069; J.H. Ketcham Hose Co. Inc., P.O. Box 706, Dover Plains, NY 12522; or Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue Inc., P.O. Box 334, Dover Plains, NY 12522. For directions or to send the family a condolence, please visit

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Author: Harlem Valley News