Jim Keel, former LTEP President, Passes
The Land Trust of the Eastern Panhandle lost the driving force behind its early expansion when Jim Keel died November 10 at the Hospice of the Panhandle in Kearneysville. He was 88.
Jim came to the Land Trust Board in 1997 with a unique background. The son of a board member of the Little Travers Conservancy in Michigan – one of the oldest in the country – Jim had already headed the Potomac Valley Audubon Society when it worked on amending the conservation easement law in West Virginia. Not only did Jim negotiate and sign five of the first six conservation easements done by the Land Trust, he also did the meticulous field work documenting the state of the land when the easement was done.
Another 11 easements benefitted from his field work, which often involved working through thickets of Osage Orange trees in cold, or even snowy weather. Those easements were still being concluded in 2006, long after he left the board.
Jim was born January 21, 1934 in Petroskey, Michigan, and received a Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State and a Master’s from Perdue. He served for 23 years as a veterinarian in the United States Army. For many years after retirement, Jim lived just outside Rippon in Jefferson County. He was a member of Asbury United Methodist Church, Charles Town and will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.