In Memoriam  

Gail Patricia Lawson
Gail Patricia Lawson-Keller
Class of 1955


NORFOLK - Gail Lawson "Granny Moo" Keller, 71, peacefully left this life and returned to her heavenly Father May 21, 2009, after succumbing to a long struggle with multiple myeloma. She has gone from dark to light, pain to comfort. She was born in Craddock, Va., July 9, 1937, to the late John and Mary Lawson. She resided in Portsmouth and attended Craddock High School, graduating in 1955. At her 50th reunion she was named Miss Craddock, 1955. She also won the Miss Portsmouth Beautiful Baby Pageant and the Miss Ocean View Toddler Contest. She met her loving and very patient husband of 51 years, Jim Keller, on Oceanview Beach, when he joined her on her beach blanket and asked her for one of her carrots. They married Feb. 7, 1958, and spent the first year of married life in Germany where Jim was stationed with the U.S. Army. They returned to the States and made their family home on Tallwood Street in the Forrest Park Section of Norfolk, where she and Jim raised their three loving children, Beverly, James Jr. and Kevin. She was with her family in the home that she loved at the time of her death. She was secretary for CBN for several years, a stay-at-home mom, and she owned her own business, The Spotted Cow, in the Countryside Shops in Virginia Beach. Most of all, Gail loved the Lord, her family and children. She adored her eight grandchildren, and spent many hours entertaining them with her charming playfulness and God-given talent as a storyteller. It was this gift that led her later life to begin writing children's stories as "Granny-Moo." She wrote stories to read to her grandchildren and later to perform at the Barnes and Noble and local schools and malls. She dressed in a cowsuit and marched the children to bad 70s music. It was glorious. Many children were introduced to the love of reading and story telling through her kind-hearted spirit. She slowed down her performances after receiving her diagnosis eight years ago, but she never lost her love for writing and creating, and turned her sights on writing articles for the Compass section of The Virginian-Pilot. It gave her such joy to share her stories and "adventures" with everyone. She worked tirelessly on all of her articles until they were just so and waited excitedly for them to appear in the paper. She loved to share her articles with her friends and family, and she especially enjoyed receiving e-mails. Granny Moo never met a "stranger." If you spoke with her, you were a friend for life from that day forward. She would end every conversation with "God Bless" and you knew she really meant it. Gail Keller is survived by her husband, James F. Keller; two brothers, John "Jackie" and Charles "Bucky" Lawson; three children, Beverly, James Jr. and Kevin Keller; eight grandchildren, Calli, Chelsea and Chandler Ward, James and Benjamin Keller, and Christian, Olivia and Grayson Keller; her son-in-law, Steve Ward; and daughters-in-law, Margie Callahan Keller and Lori Keller; and many, many friends. Family and friends will be received in Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, 8464 Tidewater Drive, Norfolk, from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday. A funeral will be conducted Tuesday at noon in Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1600 Colonial Ave. A procession and burial in Forest Lawn Cemetery will follow. Memorial donations may be made to International Myeloma Foundation, www.myeloma.org. Please leave condolences, memories and funny stories at www.hollomon-brown.com.


Published in The Virginian Pilot on 5/24/2009