Celebrating nine decades and a public servant

By Scott Baughman

Our beautiful mountain home has a lot of notable citizens and some notorious characters, but few of them have been a staple of daily life in Lake Lure for as long or as many people over their years as MaLee Keller.
Keller celebrated her 90th birthday earlier this year and across those decades she had a lot of impact on the area via her real estate work, but it was her time as a United States Postal Employee where she had her most notable success.
“I worked for the Post Office for 32 years,” Keller said when we interviewed her last month. “One thing I’ve done for my town is get that new post office. It wasn’t easy, as things can get hung up in town politics. It was approved several times for the USPS but it got hung up. I did that in the 1980s and I’ve been retired for quite a while.”
Spending time with her family and enjoying living on the lake are the highlights of her retirement, Keller said. And she still enjoys swimming as an activity. As is to be expected, Lake Lure has seen a lot of changes over the years that Keller has lived here.
“The developments like Fairfield Mountains which started as Bald Mountain Club and the housing around the lake are the biggest changes I’ve seen,” she said. “Part of it has been for the better of the area. But part of it has not been as people built on lots that never should have been.”
Before moving to Lake Lure, Keller grew up in Santa Ana, Calif. She also lived in Charlotte for a time and then moved to Chimney Rock. She has two children and one great-grandson. Her one grandson passed away about seven years ago, she said.
Before I lived in Lake Lure I was born in Santa Ana California and grew up in Charlotte and Belmont. I lived in Chimney Rock and then when I married my husband we moved to Lake Lure. I went to college for one year. I have 2 children – one great-grandson – I lost my grandson about 7 years ago.
She does offer a few tips for living a good, long life.
“I have three platitudes that I live by – Live and let live, send me Lord to do thy will this day and not mine, and don’t withhold any good that you should do for your fellow man each day. Swimming and walking are important but so is doing a lot of resting.”
Keller says she has nothing in her life that she wants to go back and change, and that she’s still big on playing Bridge these days, especially at the First Tuesday Bridge Luncheon each month.
Her family set up a birthday party for her at Lake Lure Inn and she says the 60 people gathered there were her best presents.

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