Ralph M. Keil

ralph keil

October 12, 1931 ~ March 31, 2023

Born in: Passaic, NJ
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Ralph M. Keil, 91, passed away Friday, March 31, 2023 at CarePartners Solace Center surrounded by his loving family.

He was born October 12, 1931, in Passaic, NJ to the late Henry and Gertrude Buhrig Keil.

Ralph was an Air Force veteran of the Korean War serving in Europe and the Far East. He attended Stephens Institute and was a graduate of Teterboro School of Aeronautics.

The family relocated from Kinnelon, NJ to Asheville in 1965 where Ralph held several management positions before retiring as Staff Administrator with 39 years service with Kearfott Co, Black Mountain.

He and his wife Mary loved to travel and spent many months traveling in the US as well as Europe after his 1993 retirement. He and his family loved camping at the beach and he enjoyed his hobby working with HO Model trains.

Ralph was a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus and a member of the Basilica of St. Lawrence where he served as an usher for over 25 years.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Mary J. Keil and five children, Elaine Keil Metcalf and husband Earl, Mark Keil, Karen Keil Brown and husband Elbert (Buster), Susan Keil Dowd and husband Doug, and James Keil; grandchildren, Joshua Metcalf and wife Ashley, Sarah Wright and husband Dr. Wesley Wright, Christina Cottingham and husband, Daniel, Andrea Brown, Ashley Brown, Erika Houghtaling, Alex Houghtaling and wife Taylor and Elizabeth Nestler and husband Tanner; and great-grandchildren, Katie, Jack and Ben Metcalf, Kael, Cooper and Judah Wright and Nora Jane and Joseph Cottingham.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated by the Very Rev. Fr. Roger Arnsparger at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 5, at the Basilica of St. Lawrence. Military honors will be provided by the US Air Force, Shaw Air Force Base. Burial will be later at the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery.

Memorials in Ralph’s memory may be made to the Restoration Fund of the Basilica of St. Lawrence, PO Box 8995, Asheville, NC 28814, or to Catholic Social Services, 50 Orange Street, Asheville, NC 28801.

Groce Funeral Home on Tunnel Road is assisting the family.


Funeral Mass: April 5, 2023 10:00 am

Basilica Of St. Lawrence, D.M.
Haywood Street
Asheville, NC 28801

(828) 252-6042

Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home on Tunnel Road
856 Tunnel Rd.
Asheville, NC 28805


Air Force Veteran

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. Thank you Dad for your love, your adventurous spirit and faith in God.
    You were our Rock ! Job well done!
    Now enjoy your rest in heaven, unless the angels need some help. – ❤️
    Love- from your daughter Karen

  2. Such a kind and sweet man. We always enjoyed talking with him at church. God’s blessings and comfort to Mary and the family.

    With sympathy,
    Larry and Debbie Rowland

  3. Our condolences Mary to you and your family. I enjoyed getting to know Ralph while working as an usher at St Lawrence. He was very nice and so where you. My God be your strength in this time a of sorrow. Best wishes. XO

  4. Our condolences Mary to you and your family. I enjoyed getting to know Ralph while working as an usher at St Lawrence. He was very nice. Best wishes. XO

  5. Thank you Ralph for being a wonderful Brother-in-Law. The way you lived your life’s journey was so Inspirational.


    Anne and Richie McGlynn

  6. Ralph was a great colleague at Kearfott and a wonderful neighbor. Very sorry for your loss.

  7. Thank you for your service young man, my dad was also in the Air Force during the same time as you, God Bless and God’s speed.

  8. The Keil family has always been an inspiration to us all. Sorry for your loss of your dad. I will keep the family in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. I am so sorry for your loss Earl and Elaine! Praying the Lord gives you strength and peace during this time. Laura McSwain Firestone

  10. So sorry for the lost of your father. The lost here means an angel now has wings and is with our God in heaven. Elaine and Karen know my prays are with you in this time of grief

  11. So very sorry for you loss. My heart goes out to you all. May God give you peace at this difficult time in your lives. God bless all.

    Cathy Gosnell Blackwell Roberts

  12. Elaine, Earl and family. So sorry for your loss, but wow…what a life well lived. Prayers for you all during this time and in the coming days.

  13. Dear Keil Siblings, Sending prayers and love to all of you in the loss of your wonderful Dad. He certainly was an honorable man to have served his country, a long career at Kearfott before he retired, a servant of God, and he and your Mom sent you wonderful young people to us at AC Reynolds High for us to know and love. God be with you in your time of sorrow.
    Hugs and love,

  14. Sincere sympathy to all your family. Wishing you peace and comfort.
    Janet Carter Pamfilis
    ACR Class of ’74

  15. Mrs. Mary, Elaine, Ralph, Karen, Susan, and James, Sincere condolences to your entire family. Fond memories of your sweet family growing up as neighbors on Keasler Rd. Praying for God to comfort each of you during this difficult time.

  16. Growing up, I spent much of my time with the Keil family and Ralph filled the role of my second father. Most of his advice was convincing me not to hit the baseball through the windows of the house. Later in life after I joined the Air Force he surprised me by knocking on my dorm room at Myrtle Beach AFB one day. I enjoyed taking him on a tour of the fighter jets on the flight line. Many years, great memories. He will be missed.

  17. Dear Keil family…my sincere condolences for your loss. I was out of the country and unable to attend the funeral. I have fond memories of the Keils and Lepores growing up together! Mr. Keil was always welcoming with his beautiful smile and easy laugh. I offer prayers for his eternal peace and your comfort.

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

Accessibility Tools