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Published Adrian Telegram...Monday, August 21, 2006 11:01 AM

Lenawee Spotlight:
Self-taught Web designer thrives despite paralysis

Charlie Keller lives at the Lenawee Medical Care Facility in Adrian.
By David Frownfelder, Daily Telegram Staff Writer

ADRIAN - Charlie Keller has been paralyzed since a diving accident in 1964, but he hasn't let that deter him from a full life

.      Keller, who grew up in Fulton County, Ohio, had graduated from high school in Lyons, Ohio. He and a group of friends were on a Father's Day outing when the accident occurred.

     "I dove into the pond and 12 hours later I woke up in the hospital," he said.

     Having earned bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration, Keller, who began having other health problems, retired two years ago after 25 years as an accountant for the Marco's Pizza chain, based in Toledo. These days, he enjoys life at the Lenawee Medical Care Facility, his home for the past two years, taking care of some 28 Web sites, helping other residents and the staff with computer information and communication.

     The computer isn't Keller's only talent. He also reads The Daily Telegram to other residents in the Green Gables wing at the LMCF every afternoon.

     "At 3 o'clock every day he is in the lounge reading the paper to everyone," said Pam Long, a nurse (activity aide) at the facility. "They like to hear his voice."

     As for his computer skills, Keller, who will be 60 in December, is self-taught. He started with online genealogy searches and progressed to designing and maintaining Web sites.

     "I downloaded a tutorial program that was meant for elementary teachers," Keller said. "I helped family members with their searches. Now, I'm doing the Web site for a couple of churches and for the (Lenawee County Historical) Museum."

     He got involved with the museum almost by accident. Keller was surfing the Web one day and came across the its site, which he described as being little more than some text and a telephone number. He called and offered to set up their Web site, incorporating his ideas into the design.

     "I was looking for something to do so I got in touch with them," he explained. "I had pictured a site like this in black and white and found some old pioneers, put it together and thought it would look good."

     When asked about designing Web sites, Keller likened it to another creative art form.

     "That's like asking a painter how he decides what to paint," he said. "I can't really explain it."

     Keller helps Long with various projects, including her daily calendar, and both hope to eventually create a newsletter for the other residents in Green Gables. Keller is happy to help other residents with computer communications.

     "He's kept me in touch with my daughter who is now in Alaska," Emma Howard said. "She sent me a lot of pictures and has written me (notes)."

     Keller doesn't work every day on the Web sites. Due to his injury, he spends much of his day in bed, but gets into his motorized wheelchair between 2 and 4 p.m.

     He enjoys buzzing through the hallways and visiting with the residents. One of his companions often is Shorty, a basset-beagle mix dog that lives in the wing and is the unofficial therapy dog for the residents. But Shorty's loyalty only goes so far.

     "He comes into my room and sniffs around and sees 'This is the guy who doesn't feed me,' and then leaves," Keller joked.

     As if on cue, Shorty raises his head, looks at his tormentor and lies back down on the cool tile.

     "I tell people I've got it made. I don't have house payments, I don't have bills to pay," he laughed.

With that Charlie was off to wheel around the building.

     David Frownfelder covers the city of Hudson; the villages of Blissfield and Deerfield; and Blissfield, Deerfield and Morenci schools for The Daily Telegram. He can be contacted at 265-5111, ext. 258, or via e-mail at

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Web page by Charles Paul Keller

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