Polly Keller, 67
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YARMOUTH -- Polly Keller, climber of two of the highest mountains in the United States, and survivor of a serious bicycle crash, two years in Taiwan, a round the world trip, a divorce, a family road trip to South Dakota and more than one move across the United States, died on Dec. 13, 2012 at age 67.
Polly suffered from CADASIL, a terminal genetic degenerative disease of the brain. When she was no longer able to live on her own terms, she took her fate into her own hands and hastened her death by stopping eating and drinking.
Polly was a member of many communities: Farm and Wilderness Camps (both a camper and a counselor), Germantown Friends School, University of Rochester, University of Chicago, Stanford University, University of St. Thomas, Johns Hopkins University, Control Data Corporation, Relate Counseling Center, Greater Lawrence Mental Health Center, Center for Grieving Children, Maine Medical Center, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Although, as anyone who met her knows, she was not so much of 'joiner' as a leader. And not so much of a member, as a core. Her intelligence, humor, wit and grace shone in her every pursuit, from coffee with friends to counseling patients through tough times. Polly was one of the best listeners and also one of the best laughers around. She knew the value of Play-Dough and Silly Putty and how to convey sincere understanding through heart-shaped sticky notes.
Although she never changed her email from Hotmail, and her passwords were all the same, and she never turned on text messaging on her phone, she had a unique ability to grow and adapt throughout her life while still holding on to both her present self and her past. As one of her favorite poems stated, 'when we are 11 we are also 10, and 9, and 8, and 7, and 6, and 5, and 4, and 3, and 2 and 1.' This also goes for when you are 67. Only it takes longer to write out.
Polly is survived by her husband Bill Jose of Yarmouth; her daughter Elizabeth Jose of Brooklyn, NY; her sister Julie Forsythe of New Orleans, La., her brother Adam Keller of Lyme, N.H.; her aunt, Anne Rosenthal of Ithaca, NY; three nieces and a nephew.
There will be a gathering to honor and remember Polly at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 26 at the Quaker Meeting House, 1837 Forest Avenue, Portland.
Polly was a long time supporter of Planned Parenthood and would be honored if donations were made to this organization in her memory. Or, please just plant something
that will bloom.
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on December 23, 2012