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Obituary of James R. Keiser, Jr.


Jim was born in Easton, in 1928, the son of the late James R. Keiser and Katherine Keiser Stibbe. He grew up in Germantown, PA and his family’s resort, Lenape Village, in the Poconos. He graduated from the William Penn Charter School, Cornell University, The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and attended the University of California at Berkeley. During the Korean War he served as an Air Force Food Service and Hospital Administration Officer at the Sampson, NY Air Force base. In his professional career in Philadelphia he worked at the former Penn Sherwood Hotel, the Philadelphia National Bank and was Assistant Director of the Dietary Department at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He managed two family resorts: Lenape Village in the Poconos and Northwood Lodge in northern California.

In 1956, he was lucky enough to marry Josephine Dougherty; they moved to State College in 1959. Over his 30 plus years at Penn State he taught 23 different courses, created two correspondence courses, and wrote two textbooks (one of which was in print for 40 years and used at 100 schools in the hospitality field, including being translated into Japanese). He was Assistant Program Head and also served as acting Program Head for the hospitality program. He was Chairman of the Associate Degree program in Hotel and Food Service Management; in continuing education he gave talks and workshops throughout the state and elsewhere.

Accolades include the 1989 Howard B. Meek award, the highest award from the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Institutional Education in recognition of his achievements in hospitality education; The Outstanding Advisor award from the former College of Human Development in 1968; and the Evelyn Saubel Family Award for his commitment to human service and students in 1981. He served as faculty advisor to at least six student organizations. He was awarded a lifetime membership by the Penn State Hotel and Restaurant Society. Former students funded the Keiser Room, a classroom in his honor in the Mateer Building. After his retirement, he taught in Cardiff, Wales, and consulted in Cairo, Egypt.

He volunteered for Yoke Fellowship at Rockview Penitentiary for 40 years, served Meals on Wheels for 25 years, and for many years was a member and sometimes President of the Board of the former Presbyterian Homes. A long-time member of the State College Presbyterian Church, he participated as a Deacon, Elder, Trustee and Clerk of Session for five different ministers. Thankfully, he never sang in the choir. Working with the State College borough, he served on the Industrial Board and Authorities Board. He and Jo were recognized for their volunteer efforts by the borough.

In 2011, he moved to the Village at Penn State, and eventually moved into personal care. The family would like to thank the staff for their wonderful care and many kindnesses.

He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Jo; two sons, James Keiser III of Camp Hill and John Keiser of Brockport, NY; a daughter, Joan Keiser Gale of Palos Verdes Estates, CA; four grandchildren and two great-grandsons; a sister Elinor Keiser Uhrig of Chester, VA and numerous nephews and nieces.

Funeral services will be at the State College Presbyterian Church 11:00 am, on Tuesday, April 30. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Benevolent Fund at the Village at Penn State (260 Lions Hill Road, State College, PA 16803) and The Penn State Hotel School (Development, c/o The College of Health and Human Development, 325 Health and Human Development Building, University Park, PA 16802). Please reference in memory of Jim Keiser.

Name of Deceased

James R. Keiser, Jr.

Date of Death


Date of Birth


Funeral Home

Mark D. Heintzelman Funeral and Cremation Service

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