Barbara Ann Calkins Keller

Published 2:34 pm Friday, July 21, 2017

Barbara Calkins Keller, 85, of Columbus, NC passed away Friday evening, July 7, 2017 at the Elizabeth House, Flat Rock, NC with her daughter Ann at her side.

Born in Chicago, Ill, she was the daughter of the late Burton Henry Calkins and Evelyn Olson Calkins and wife of the late William F. Keller, Jr. (Bill) who passed away in 1993. Barbara was a proud graduate of Taft High School in Chicago, Ill and attended Cornell University for a short time before love letters from Bill, who she loved more than ice cream, enticed her home. She and her husband moved to Green Creek, NC in 1986 coming from Lake Forest, Il, Land O Lakes, WI, and Naples, FL.

She received her degree at Harrington School of Design in Chicago and many of her family and friends live with the happy results of her much admired talent for house plans and interior design.

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As an introvert she was happiest at home doing the crossword puzzle, playing the piano and swimming. She enjoyed skinny-dipping at their lake home in Land O Lakes, WI.  In her later years, on their Green Creek farm, she had an ever-increasing group of dogs as well as horses with which she learned to carriage drive as a member of the Carolina Carriage Club.

Her family thanks her for their love of all outdoors, ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and Hershey bars. They will always think of her when watching tennis, especially that cute Rafa Nadal.

Surviving are three daughters, Sandy Cole of Woodstock, GA, Laura Matylinski (Clem) of Richland, WA and Ann Yates (William) of Green Creek, NC; one brother, Burton H. Calkins (Barbara) of Bloomfield, IN, niece Linda McGurn (Pat), nephew Bruce Calkins (Lisa) and their children; six grandchildren, Michelle Cole (Karen), Julia Van Den Hende (Shane), Paige Matylinski, Keller Yates, Aaron Yates and Mattie Yates; two great-grandchildren, Tamari Cole and Kai Cole-Henson; cousins Karen Judge (Nick), Keith Love (Edie) and Kathy Ligon (Steve) and their families.

The family will hold private celebrations with ice cream, Hershey bars, and skinny-dipping in her honor.

Memorial donations may be made to The Northwoods Wildlife Center in Minocqua, Wisconsin to honor her love of all things Northwoods, 8683 S. Blumenstein Road, Minocqua, WI 54548, 715-356-7400,

An online guest register is available at

McFarland Funeral Chapel, Tryon, NC