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Our Beautiful Barbara Keller

Photo: Ethan Kaminsky

Barbara Keller – June 23, 1943 – April 15, 2019

Courageous, caring, classy and compassionate.
Elegant and eloquent.
Glamourous, gracious, and generous.
Heroic and humble.
Intelligent and inspirational.
Stunning, selfless, and strong.
Spectacular and sophisticated.
Artistic, Radiant, Vivacious, Unique, Kind, Empathetic, Dynamic, Loving,Fabulous, Magical…a True Original.

Barbara was a brilliant woman, a shining example of how to live a joyful, inspired life. She was a blaze of color, creativity and beauty–with a passionate love for family, humanity, equality, and fairness.

we miss you…we love you…and we are eternally grateful for the time we were so very luckY to be with you.

We will love you always.

The Keller Family

Barbara Keller, 75, of Rancho Mirage, California, passed away peacefully at 7:30 a.m. on April 15, 2019. She was at home, enveloped by the love of her husband Jerry, her son Brad, her daughter Lindsay and step-daughters (she considered daughters) Lisa and Kelly. Additionally, other close family (grandchildren and spouses of kids) lent tremendous loving support as she fought a tough, courageous battle against cancer and related complications.

Barbara was born June 23, 1943, in New York City and spent her childhood in Great Neck, NY. She graduated from Great Neck North High School and then attended American University in Washington DC where she attained a BA in English. She later attained a Masters degree.

In Great Neck, she taught elementary school, at Saddle Rock. In her next vocation, she worked in NYC as a business agent for the script supervisors/production coordinators local of the film industry union IATSE. For years, she was a theater director and producer, and she served on the board of the North Shore Community Arts Center. She was both a writer and a fine artist. Books include: Film, Tape and TV: Where Do I Fit In? and Orgasmic Days in the South Of France. France was her favorite vacation spot.

Barbara and Jerry loved to travel together and their vacation spots became residences. For many years, they happily split their time between New York, Rancho Mirage and the South of France, finally settling in Rancho Mirage where they formed an artistic, loving, generous and eclectic group of friends.

Barbara’s philanthropic endeavors are the stuff of legends. She gracefully juggled her time between several organizations, lending her creative, magic spark to each along the way. She was a galvanizing force for the Desert AIDS Project, where she was chair of the board for 4 years. She co-chaired seven Steve Chase Awards galas, and was also co-chair of Dinner @ My Place and 100 Women. At the Palm Springs Art Museum, she was by turns a docent, vice chair of the board, president of the museum Associates Council and chair for many of the museum’s fundraisers. In addition, she was a Trustee for the McCallum Theater and the Jewish Family Service of the Desert. Most recently she had been knee-deep in projects with Sunshine Circle, where she was on the advisory board. The love and compassion that she had for others in her sphere energized her and enabled her to take on superhuman endeavors. She received a DAP Humanitarian award in 2017, a humanitarian award from Equality California and a star on the Palm Springs walk of Fame, placed strategically in front of LULU California Bistro. These are just three of the many awards she humbly accepted over the years. She brought joy, intelligence and compassion to her work, uniting the many beautiful desert communities to help where needed most.

Barbara and Jerry (although their children joke that they never actually never cooked a meal at home) built the amazing culinary enterprises LULU in Palm Springs and ACQUA in Rancho Mirage, which will continue to delight and feed the Valley in her honor.

Both her family and friends – too numerous to mention – will miss her beautiful energy, but will forge ahead on the paths of kindness she lit for them.

Barbara is preceded in death by her parents Marvin and Rose Cohn, who adored her. She is loved beyond words by Jerry; her children- Brad Berger, Lindsay Berger Sacks (Brian Sacks), Lisa Keller (Rocky Grisez), Kelly Keller (Anthony Chavez); her grandchildren — Taylor Berger, Rebekah Berger, Graham Berger Sacks, Ridley Berger Sacks, Greta Grisez, Eva Grisez and Levon Keller-Chavez; her former husband Michael Berger (Meri Koenig); and her sister Carole Sheppard.

Barbara loved the quote from Anne Frank, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” Donations in her honor may be made to Desert Aids Project and the Jewish Sunshine Circle.

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