Walter Keys, 86, Iwo Jima survivor, St. Edmund parishioner, avid cyclist

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Walter J. Keys, 86, of DeKalb, a longtime resident of Oak Park, died peacefully on March 18, 2012 at DeKalb County Rehab & Nursing Center. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, he served in World War II and survived the battle of Iwo Jima. A graduate of the Worsham College of Mortuary Science, for over 20 years he was the funeral director at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home.

An avid cyclist and member of the Oak Park Bike Club, in his later years, he and his wife retired to Southern Indiana and traveled the country, hiking, biking and enjoying visits with family. He was also a lifelong member of St. Edmund Parish.

Mr. Keys was dedicated to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and organized the local Toys for Tots in Odon, Ind. In 2004, the couple moved to DeKalb, where he was an active participant in a clinical study for Alzheimer's and a tissue donor.

Walter Keys is survived by his wife, Alice (nee Collins); his children, Dorothy, Mary (Merle) Callahan, Roger (Mary), Kathryn, Thomas, and Nancy (Peter) Buttitta; 14 grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and his sisters, Dorothy Smart and Jane Lucas. He was preceded in death by his son, Walter C. Keys.

Visitation was held at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home on March 23. Funeral Mass was celebrated on March 24 at St. Edmund Church, followed by interment at Queen of Heaven Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Voluntary Action Center, 1606 Bethany Road, Sycamore, IL 60178, are appreciated.

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