Toledo Legal News - News Judge Keller: From class president to Municipal Court judge

 

photo of Judge Jeffery KellerJudge Jeffery Keller is only the third person to sit on the bench of Oregon’s Municipal Court in the city’s history. Elected in November of 2005 and starting in January of 2006, Judge Keller is relatively new to the judiciary, but it’s a position he relishes and has worked hard to achieve.

Jeffery Keller was born in the tight-knit city of Ironville. He spent his first four years there until the property his family owned was taken through eminent domain by the government to build some tank farms which never materialized. His family then moved to Oregon, where the Judge has lived ever since. “I grew up here. I went to Starr elementary school, Fassett middle school and then went to high school at Clay.” At Clay Keller developed an interest in government and civics. He credits his teachers with awakening his political passion, among them was Toledo Clerk of Courts Bernie Quilter’s daughter, Mary Ann.

During high school Keller, who was senior class president, also became very involved with sports. He was an MVP on both the Clay basketball and golf teams and his coaches often served as role models for the young man. “My basketball coach Bud Felhaber was very influential on me. He taught me about growing up and taking responsibility. He made me realize that it was time to grow up, time to be an adult. He was a wonderful man.”

After high school, the future Judge Keller attended college at UT and pursued a bachelors degree in political science. “Neither of my parents went to college. My father worked at a place where he changed truck tires and my mother was a cleaning woman at Starr elementary. They both instilled in me a desire to go as far as I could in school. They were very strong and made sure that I got my education. I was very fortunate to have them.”

After college Keller supported himself with a brief stint working at Diamond’s Men Shop in the Franklin Park Mall before returning to UT to obtain his law degree.

After law school, Keller began a solo practice in Toledo that would go on to last over 16 years. “I did a lot of real estate law, personal injury and domestic law. I once, in a paternity suit, represented a young man who turned out to be the son of Eddie Kendricks a founding member of the Temptations.”

During this time Jeffrey Keller also served three terms on the Oregon City Council and became active with the Oregonian Club, a philanthropic organization which annually awards between 10 and 15 thousand dollars worth of scholarships to graduating Clay and Cardinal Stritch high school seniors. Community service has always been important to the Judge, so much so that his one piece of advice for new or aspiring attorneys would be to, “Give back to your communities. The more you give back, the more you yourself get. That’s what I’ve found to be true. Every time I give, the more lucky I’ve been. Volunteering really has been what’s helped me get to where I am today.”

And where he’s at now is on the bench in the city of Oregon. Of his election the Judge remarked, “I’ve always wanted to be a judge. Ever since my teachers at Clay High School emphasized the importance of government. I ran against three other people and was lucky enough to win and it’s been great.” When asked what the best part about his new position is Judge Keller, who learned hard work from his parents, responsibility from his teachers and the power of giving from his community said, “I like being able to help people, to influence them to make the right choices, which is something I can really do as a municipal court judge. You know, at common pleas court they deal with the big stuff, the big crimes and there it’s just a matter of sentencing. At the municipal court level I can really help people turn around, help them, turn a corner and head down a new direction.”

Michael Davisson, Toledo Legal News Staff Writer

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