Ellis Orivis was born in 1897 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. He attended the primary and intermediate classes of the Bellefonte Academy. In 1909, he entered Bellefonte High School and was graduated in 1913. He entered Pennsylvania State College in 1914, and was graduated in 1919 with a degree of B.S. in Industrial Engineering.
He worked for Armstrong Cork Co. in Pittsburgh from 1919-22, and from1929-1935. From 1922-26, he taught at the Bellefonte Academy High School. His future wife, Emma Marguerite Stevenson, was one his students. They were married at Cumberland, Md. on September 6, 1924 when he was 26 and she was 18.
From 1936-38, he worked for the U.S. Dept of Labor at Baltimore, Md. In 1938, they moved to Pittsburgh where he was Director of Supervisory Training for Duquesne Light Co. and Equitable Gas Co. He was director of the evening program at the Newark College of Engineering in Newark, N.J. from 1948-1951.
He served with the U.S. Department of State from 1952-1961 in Technical Cooperation Missions to Iran and India, serving in administrative duties and conducting seminars in Management Development.
Mr. Keller worked for the Pennsylvania State College, starting in 1962, with the now Continuing Education Program, where he authored five volumes on Management Supervision and Development for Correspondence Study.
He retired from the University in the fall of 1967, and moved to Bellefonte, where he served as Mayor from 1969-72. They then moved to their retirement home in Toftrees, State College, and began the winter treks to Florida each year, which led to their eventual retirement in Tampa, Florida.
He was a member of Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity at Penn State and of Tau Beta Pi honorary engineering fraternity. He also was a member of Post 1600 Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 33 American Legion, Sons of the American Revolution, and The Retired Officers Association chapters at State College and Tampa, Florida. He was a long-time member of St. John's United Church of Christ in Bellefonte.
Mr. Keller had a long military history, starting with his enlistment in Troop L, 1st Pennsylvania Cavaly in July 1917, and his transfer to the Ordnance Department in November, where he served at Camp Wadsworth in Spartansburg, S. Carolina. He received promotions and was separated in January 1919 with the rank of Ordnance Sergeant and First Sergeant.
He entered the Cavalry Reserve in May 1926 and was called to active duty as Captain on July 1, 1941 at Langely Field, Va. Following Pearl Harbor, his unit was transferred to New York City and went into anti-submarine operations against German U-boats. He was promoted to Major and then Lt. Colonel. His unit was disbanded in September 1943, and he entered the Army School of Military Government.
Upon completion of the course, he was sent overseas and assigned to the U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division as Senior Civil Affairs and Military Government Staff Officer. He was with that division through Normandy, Brittany, and finally on the Western front. In March 1945 he was transferred as Chief of the Military Government Staff Section of the 23rd Corps in Germany until he was shipped home in July 1945. He continued in the Army Reserve until his retirement in 1957 as Lt. Colonel.
Ellis O. Keller died in Tampa, Florida on January 1, 1994 at the age of 96, and is buried with his wife, E. Marguerite (Stevenson) Keller in the Bellefonte Cemetery outside State College.