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Linn Maxwell KellerDecember 6, 1943 ~ June 18, 2016 (age 72)
Linn Maxwell Keller, born Dec 6, 1943 left this earthly world for eternal life on June 18, 2016.
Linn was a dedicated professional singer who performed in 28 countries, a scholar, an inspiring mother and incredible life partner. The only child of two musicians, Linn was singing practically since birth. After studying music performance at the University of Maryland and earning a Master’s degree in Music from Catholic University, Linn started her singing career at the Essen Opera house in Germany. She performed operas and oratorio works throughout France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. She loved languages, taught diction and sang in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Russian. Returning to make New York City home, Linn was awarded the Joy In Singing award while appearing on major orchestra stages around the world; and was no stranger to Michigan having performed with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Opera Grand Rapids and in the Bay View Music Festival. In her 10th season Linn married Fred Keller following the death of his first wife, Donna Lichatz Keller, and Linn became the second mother to Christina, Susan, and Lorissa. As the children grew, she restarted her career, this time focusing on developing her acting and playwriting skills. She developed a pair of one woman shows: “A Whole Lotte Lenya” and “Lilli Marlene” about WWII Germany. Linn also developed 5 cabaret shows including “Broadway, Yesterday and Today” that included performances in Frankfurt Germany. She then turned to researching and writing about a long time fascination she had with Hildegard of Bingen a 12th Century German abbess. Hildegard was elevated to Sainthood and Doctor of the Catholic Church as Linn was writing and developing her one woman play entitled “Hildegard of Bingen and the Living Light”. Linn performed this play 98 times from critical acclaim at the Edinburgh, Scotland “Fringe” Festival in 2009 to a 5 city tour in Australia in April of 2015. Linn’s scholarly pursuit of Hildegard’s copious writings and songs lead her to writing and producing a second movie “St. Hildegard, Trumpet of God” which she published in 2015. She has recorded for RCA Red Seal, New World, Centaur and Albany Records. She was the president of New York City’s Joy in Singing and the Grand Rapids Bach Festival and is an honorary member of the Grand Rapids Symphony.
While Linn was the consummate performer, she literally put her career on hold to be the best mother possible. She became an integral part of each daughter’s life, infusing them with her passion for living and inspiring them to succeed. She had an amazing ability to put others first and make a unique contribution to each individual she met, around some common themes: be the best you can be, don’t conform to this world, and be an inspiration to all. Her deep faith informed her vision of being in ministry to others through inspiring performance and song and assurance of God’s love for each of us. Linn embodied one of her favorite scriptures “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians: 5:22-23) Even through her journey with cancer, she embodied grace, gentleness and peace.
Linn was preceded in death by her parents Adris and Roy Maxwell. Linn leaves incredible memories to be cherished by husband Fred, Dr. Lorissa (Wesley) MacAllister, Susan (Lars) Whitman, and Christina (Andy) Keller and 6 grandchildren: Paul and Skylar MacAllister, Carter and Isaac Whitman, and Jackson and Aspen Keller.
A celebration of Linn’s life will be held on Monday the 27th of June at 3:30 at First United Methodist Church (Fulton at Barclay) in Grand Rapids. The family will be available from 2:00 to 4:00 pm and 6:00 to 8:00 pm Sunday the 26th of June and 9:00 to 11:00 am on Monday the 27th of June at Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral home.
In lieu of flowers, donations to further Linn’s legacy will be accepted by the Grand Rapids Symphony for the Linn Maxwell Keller Bach Festival Scholarship.