Keasers are back in town

By Linda Moody lmoody@civitasmedia.com

March 17, 2014

GREENVILLE - Family, friends, co-workers and members of Grace Church helped Jeff and Ellie Keaser move back to their roots in Greenville on Saturday morning.

The couple moved to an apartment in Troy last June to be closer to their respective jobs, but as fate has it sometimes, their lives changed drastically.

“I missed my hometown,” said Jeff, who was diagnosed with acute juvenile leukemia this past Dec. 4, just three weeks after his wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on Nov. 11.

Jeff, a trooper with the State Highway Patrol, is suffering from a rare cancer in adults and is preparing to have a stem cell transplant at Ohio State University, starting March 25.

“I’m getting a 100 percent donor match,” he said. “I won’t be able to find out who the donor is for a year, but it’s a hell of a person whoever it is.”

He’s looking forward to the transplant.

“That’s a lifesaver right there,” said Jeff, a son of Marie and Charlie Keaser. “I’ve lost 50-some pounds and I have no muscle tone.”

His wife, who worked in a doctor’s office, said she, too, is glad to be back home.

The former Ellie Smith, she is continuing her chemotherapy treatments.

“I will keep taking chemo until it’s gone,” said Ellie, who indicated her first treatment was on Dec. 2.

Joining them at their residence will be her parents, Sam and Ella Smith, formerly of Greenville and now of Florida. They take Elllie to her treatments at the Dayton Blood and Cancer Center.

Trucks and trailers could be seen unloading their personal belongings at their new residence this past weekend.. Jeff said three troopers even helped with part of the move.

Their respective illnesses have kept the couple apart for 45 days while he was at OSU, and they will be away from one another for two months, when he goes for his stem cell transplant.

“It wore me down,” said Jeff, who had previously worked for Greenville Township Fire and Rescue for a total of 32 years between the two. “Never let stress build up inside your body.”

His symptoms, he said, were that he was tired, stressed out and had a low-grade fever, while his wife’s symptoms were that she had real bad pains in her abdomen and back, making it hard for her to get comfortable whatever she was doing.

The Keasers have been married for 12 years, after having met through mutual friends, Roxanne (now deceased) and Dave Reed. Both of the Keasers are 49, and are graduates of Greenville High School; he in 1982 and she in 1983.

She has three children, Shawn Zerkle, Elizabeth Zerkle and Molly (Joe) Hool, and one granddaughter, Ashlyn Hool.

Jeff said there have been three benefits held for them so far, and noted that another is scheduled for May.

“We’d like to thank the community, our friends and family for all of their support,” Jeff said.

Jeff drove to Greenville on Saturday and was found resting when The Daily Advocate arrived. She came over later. They both appeared to be happy to be back in Greenville after their new home started to take shape with the help of all of the movers.

“This place is a miracle when it came open,” Jeff said.