Michael Robert Keel, 61 of Valparaiso, passed away Wednesday, April 12, 2023. He was born December 31, 1961, in Valparaiso, IN to the late Earl and Carol (Wale) Keel. Mike grew up farming with his parents and helping with the family business, Keel’s Country Corner. He graduated from Chesterton High School and made his career as a Correctional Employee with the Indiana State Prison for 29 years. He began his time with the prison working in “The Farm” where he assisted in farming and raising livestock. Mike then trained to become a Steel Fabricator and ran the steel shop for the remainder of his time with the prison. Most notably, Mike built the Memorial Bell which stands at the Fallen Officer Memorial in New Castle, IN. Mike loved his job and was dedicated to his craft.
Outside of work, Mike and his family were involved in Troop 929 in Chesterton. Mike was also skilled in the kitchen and loved to cook and grill. He had a continuous grocery list running through his mind of the meals he was looking forward to preparing. Mike enjoyed making a large breakfast spread for his sons on the weekend and spending time with them. He was a caring person, who was well-liked by everyone. Mike will be remembered as a generous and loving man, who was taken too soon. As one final act of generosity, Mike gave the gift of life through organ donation.
On April 4, 1998, in Valparaiso, Mike married Janifer Hiatt, who survives, along with his children: Robert Keel of Wabash, IN, Matthew Fox of Kouts, IN, Heather Keel of LaPorte, IN, Nathan Keel and Nicholas Keel, both of Valparaiso, IN; grandchildren: Samantha, Aidan, Carter, and Rose; and sister, Terri (David) Funkhouser.
A visitation will be held on Thursday, April 20, 2023, from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Valparaiso Nazarene Church, 2702 E. Glendale Blvd., Valparaiso, IN, with a funeral service beginning at 3:00 p.m. Private burial will be held at Angelcrest Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Keel Family Memorial Education Fund. Donations may be made at any Horizon Bank location.
Our deepest sympathies ~ thinking of you during this extremely difficult time. -Laura & Robert Morrison & Mallory
I worked with Mike for 12 years. Was in contact with him and his crew on a daily basis. He was well liked and respected. I often saw him around Chesterton at restaurants and shops with his two younger boys He always made it a point to stop and say hello. I’m very sorry for your loss. Life sometimes is so unfair. Please accept my sincere condolences. -Officer Julie Thomas
So sorry for the loss of Mike Keel. I really enjoyed working with him and will miss seeing him. Thoughts and prayers are with the family at this difficult time. -Clerical Assistant for Maintenance Erica Auler
My heartfelt condolences and prayers to you Janifer and your family! May you have His comfort. -Janis Burden
I am so sorry for your loss. Prayers to Jennifer and the family, -Tracy Marshall
My deepest sympathies to you and your family. I am a sister in gray and have been in corrections for 9 years. I never had the honor of meeting your husband, but I share some of your grief. He may not have intended it, but he has allowed for many staff to openly speak of their concerns and feelings, through the loss of Mr Keel. God bless you and your family. If at anytime you are in Central Indiana, please feel free to visit us at Pendleton Correctional Facility. Stay Safe. Always, -Sgt Christina Harris