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HomeObituariesIn Memory: Marilyn Keeler Gee, Age 80

In Memory: Marilyn Keeler Gee, Age 80

Obituary - Marilyn Keeler Gee - 2Marilyn Keeler Gee, 46-year resident of Greenburgh, New York, a retired IBM employee of 25 years, passed away on April 11 at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York, after an extended but courageous fight. At her bedside, was her husband, Charles R. Gee. They continued in marriage for 57 years. She was 80.

An inspiration to those who knew her, Marilyn was born on December 11, 1943 at United Hospital in Port Chester, New York. The third of four children, Marilyn was older daughter of the late Deacon and Mrs. James Keeler Jr. A lifelong member of Bethesda Baptist Church in Port Chester, New York, her grandparents Nellie Bush and Deacon James Keeler Sr. were founding members in 1919, and he served as Chairman of Deacon Board for 26 years until his death on June 23, 1945.

Marilyn’s father, James, worked for Sikorsky Aircraft Company, now owned by Lockheed Martin, in Bridgeport, Connecticut during World War II, and following, enjoyed many years of employment at American Cyanamid Company in Stamford, Connecticut and retired from Avon Products, Inc. in Rye, New York in July 1983.

Her mother, Mary Washington Sumner, founded very successful Mary Keeler Caterers of Rye Brook, New York, and for nearly 50 years provided exquisite and specialized food services to an impressive diversity of individual families, corporate and institutional clients in Westchester and Fairfield Counties.

Marilyn Keeler Gee, a 1961 graduate of Rye High School, was a very good student, enormously popular, an athlete, Girl Scout, animal lover and clarinet player. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Elizabeth Seton College in Yonkers, New York which merged in 1989 with Iona University in New Rochelle, New York.

After Marilyn and Charles married in 1966, she moved to Fort Knox, Kentucky where Charles was in his final year of military service in United States Army. Upon discharge they returned to Westchester County in 1967 and lived in East Yonkers and Mount Vernon, New York where they signed their first mortgage before relocating to Greenburgh in their private home. During that period, Marilyn was employed by Pitney Bowes Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut for five years in administration.

In 1968, Marilyn joined IBM Corporation as an executive assistant, working with its most senior corporate and division financial executives. Marilyn was highly regarded throughout IBM financial community in Armonk and White Plains for her keen intelligence, engaging wit, kindness, warmth and gift of a winning manner.

In 1972, Marilyn, along with support from IBM, worked with members of Tuckahoe Racquet Club and its president, the late Donald L. Lundy to organize and successfully present, “Tennis for Life” featuring humanitarian, International Tennis Hall of Famer, Arthur R. Ashe Jr, first African American member of United States Davis Cup in 1963 and Captain.

On an August summer Sunday afternoon, overlooking the Long Island Sound at Rye home of Mr. & Mrs. William K. Hughes, Arthur Ashe and Bob Lutz, played an entertaining and competitive set of tennis. The exhibition provided funds to battle sickle cell disease which a prominent group of African American women of Westchester Sickle Cell Research Association and organization president Sharon Snell, of New Rochelle, had taken on as their mission.

Always in search of increased responsibility, Marilyn was promoted to a managerial position in IBM Human Resources. When learning of her passing, former IBM Vice President of Global Workforce Diversity Ted Childs wrote: “Marilyn was admired for her attitude, personality and commitment to professional excellence.”

Following IBM retirement as Manager of Human Resources, Marilyn Keeler Gee sought other interesting, professional and community service-related spaces. She accepted a position in Development and Alumni Affairs at Rye Country Day School, where Charles served on its Board of Trustees and daughter Rebecca, attended grades K thru 12.

Of note, Marilyn’s encouragement, remarkable caring and along with superb assistance of the Rye Country Day School Assistant Headmaster Bill Buck, resulted in five (5) of Rebecca’s cousins, Rita, Todd, Blythe, Audrey and Diana, eventually enrolling to competitively learn, broaden growth horizons and create lifelong memories and forever friendships, which Rye Country Day School offers its uniquely diverse student community.

Marilyn was approached and accepted position of Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Community Relations at Marymount College, in Tarrytown, New York. With this increased level of responsibilities, she led in developing effective fundraising strategies, mentored and counseled women students, and shared her valuable corporate and community nonprofits experience.

For over 50 years, Marilyn Keeler Gee has been a thoughtful, energetic, hardworking contributor in many political, social and community organizations in Westchester County. Among those, and dearest, was Marilyn’s 25-year membership in the Greater Hudson Valley (New York) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, whose membership of prominent African American women include: Vice President of the United States Kamala Devi Harris, Marion Wright Edelman, Johnnetta Cole and the late Betty Shabazz.

Founded 1946 in Philadelphia, the Greater Hudson Valley Links chapter president Laurie Collins Thomas wrote of Marilyn: “that she was so dedicated and active in various aspects of Link business and contributed mightily toward excellence in whatever endeavor she pursued.”

Other organizations which Marilyn held active memberships were: Black Women’s Political Caucus (Greenburgh – White Plains Chapter), Jack & Jill of America, Incorporated – Westchester County; National Urban League of Westchester County’s Black Scholars Program; NAACP Westchester ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) Program; YWCA of White Plains & Central Westchester; Volunteer Center of Westchester – White Plains; and served as a Board member of the Lois Bronz Children’s Center in White Plains.

For over 20 years, Marilyn, Charles and Rebecca enjoyed spending summers on Martha’s Vineyard, often inviting friends and family to share their living space, good food, storytelling and laughter. In winter time, there were occasional ski trips to Vermont’s Smugglers Notch and Pennsylvania’s Poconos. She enjoyed tennis, women’s gymnastics, pretty flowers, warm colors, people, nice cars and her beloved pets, Sealy and Huey.

Among those left to mourn Marilyn is her devoted and beloved husband Charles; daughter Rebecca Keeler Gee Woods (Brian) of Frisco, Texas; her two granddaughters, Bryn Keeler Woods, Reagan Mae Woods; older brother James Sumner Keeler (Philadelphia); sister Heather Anne Keeler Robinson (White Plains, New York); sisters-in-law Mary Elizabeth Gee Sampson (Washington, District of Columbia), Linda Joyce Chandler Keeler (Ardmore, Pennsylvania), Linda Minor Keeler (White Plains, New York); brother-in law, John Franklin Robinson (Kentucky); ten nieces and nephews; and, several grand nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by brothers-in-laws Cary Yale Keeler on December 19, 2005, an accomplished oil paints artist, and Walter Sampson on December 20, 2020.

Burial will be private. Memorial contributions may be made to, The Links Foundation, Marilyn Keeler Gee Education Fund, then mailed to: Greater Hudson Valley (NY) Links Chapter, PO Box 947, White Plains, New York 10602.

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