Visiting veteran brightens south Tracy corner
by Anne Marie Fuller
Oct 11, 2013 | 7099 views | 5 5 comments | 86 86 recommendations | email to a friend | print
World War II veteran Bill Keller smiles and waves to passing motorists at the corner of Schulte Road and Sycamore Parkway.  Anne Marie Fuller/For the Tracy Press
World War II veteran Bill Keller smiles and waves to passing motorists at the corner of Schulte Road and Sycamore Parkway. Anne Marie Fuller/For the Tracy Press
For three weeks, World War II veteran Bill Keller spread joy with his infectious smile and larger-than-life wave to Tracy motorists passing the corner of West Schulte Road and Sycamore Parkway each weekday afternoon.

He became a subject of conversation as passers-by took his picture and posted it on social media sites. Some also stopped to talk with the 89-year-old.

“Love is reflected in love,” Keller said. “It’s my pleasure to bring joy to others. I love seeing the kids and they are like wow and wave back. I have had some people stop and tell me I’m spreading happiness for everyone. It makes me feel wonderful.”

Reactions of motorists varied from smiling and waving back to honking their horns as they proceed through the intersection.

“My family loves seeing Bill out here,” said Tracy resident Jeanine Iacangelo. “I always see him when I pick up the kids from school. All three of my daughters love him waving, and we wave back and smile. I stopped and talked with Bill one day and took his picture. Within minutes of posting it on Facebook, people started commenting and liking it.”

Keller — a resident of Paradise who was visiting his son, Tracy resident Ronald Keller — explained that he was bored sitting in the living room and decided to get outside and do something.

He returned home this week, but he visits his son several times a year and said he would resume his post at the corner when he returns.

During World War II,

the elder Keller saw combat in Iwo Jima with the Army. After the war, he married and worked for a carton company that assembled collapsible folding boxes. He and his wife, Alice, had a daughter and two sons and were married 63 years before her death a few years ago.

Local resident Kassie Hale said she and a friend stopped to talk with Keller.

“This is really sweet,” Hale said. “I think this brings it back to people being sociable. One wave and a smile can brighten your day.”

• Contact the Tracy Press newsroom at 830-4280 or

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October 17, 2013
My kids love this guy! He definitely brightens our say! Thank you for your service Mr. Keller!
October 15, 2013
Awww, my children and I always looked for him passing that corner. One day he wasn't there and we were so bummed. :( Hopefully, he will come back soon! :)
October 14, 2013
My kids and I miss waving to him on the corner!
October 11, 2013
Mr. Bill Keller, your absence from the corner of Shulte Rd and Sycamore Dr is sorely missed. You were most definitely a breath of fresh air! Please come back soon and often. Thank you for your years of service to this country.
October 11, 2013
I'd like to extend a HUGE thank you to Bill and his family. For sharing part of your days with us and always lifting our spirits. You photo with our three daughters hangs on our refrigerator as a daily reminder: To Smile Often and to enjoy the little things. A smile, so simple and free, yet so powerful. The world needs more Bill's! Come back soon Bill, our trips around YOUR corner are just not the same without you!

~Jeanine Iacangelo and Family

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