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College of the Ozarks’ presidential aide dies at 84

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A former chancellor and 50-year employee of College of the Ozarks died Sunday, the school announced this morning. 

Howell Keeter was serving as vice president and presidential aide at the time of his death Nov. 8 from complications of esophageal cancer, according to his obituary. He was 84. 

During Keeter’s career at C of O, he held the titles of associate dean of administration, chancellor, trustee, acting president and vice president, according to a news release. School officials say Keeter was one of the longest-serving C of O employees. 

“Dr. Keeter’s career touched three long presidencies at this institution, and his leadership and insights provided continuity. He will be missed,” college President Jerry Davis said in the release. “I most valued his dependability and his always looking out for the best interests of the college. His judgment was invaluable. He was especially concerned for the welfare of the students from the towns and villages of the Ozarks.” 

Keeter’s first job at the Point Lookout school was as work program coordinator in June 1970, when it was known as The School of the Ozarks. According to the release, he was selected in 1975 for the newly created position of chancellor, in which he served six years, and then as acting president for another 18 months. Keeter also had served as corporate secretary of the board of trustees for 35 years. 

The campus gymnasium is named the Howell W. Keeter Athletic Complex in his honor. C of O Public Relations Director Valorie Coleman said an unrelated Keeter family has its name on the Keeter Center dining, lodging and event facility on campus. 

A visitation for Keeter is scheduled 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Nov. 11 and 12, at Holt Chapel in Harrison, Arkansas, and a graveside service is planned at 2 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Blue Eye Cemetery. 

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