Remembering a life with a place to reflectLast Friday, friends and family gathered at Gregory Kellerman’s former place of work, Auto Value in Silver Bay, to commemorate the 40-year-old man’s life with the installation of a handmade wooden bench.
By: LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
Last Friday, friends and family gathered at Gregory Kellerman’s former place of work, Auto Value in Silver Bay, to commemorate the 40-year-old man’s life with the installation of a handmade wooden bench. Relatives brought the bench from New Hampshire and once in Minnesota, they sanded and varnished it and affixed a plaque bearing Kellerman’s name.
Kellerman passed away on Aug. 6, 2012, of injuries sustained in a car accident at the intersection of Highways 61 and 3.
“This is where everyone came to see Greg,” his brother, Zachary, said. Kellerman always had a pot of coffee ready for visitors and people would come to chat with him, sometimes seated on batteries. The bench will assure that customers have a more comfortable perch.
The group placed the bench in front of the building and afterwards moved into the warmth of the store to share stories of Kellerman, referring to him as Greggy. Someone recalled the time he went to a concert with a group of teenagers. Kellerman worried he was too old to hang out with “kids” but later reported having a great time.
“He’d hang out with anybody,” Zachary said.
Another remembered the numerous times he volunteered to help older customers with car maintenance, like installing new wiper blades or changing oil.
“He was always willing to lend a hand,” said his aunt Marilynn Peterson.
In addition to managing the Auto Value store, Kellerman bartended part time at the Green Door in Beaver Bay.
“If they had a beer or drove a car, they had to know him,” his uncle, Richard Church quipped.
Zachary said he was overwhelmed by the support from the community, everything from kind words to hot meals, after the loss of his brother.
“It was unbelievable,” he said.
The bench is a small way for Kellerman’s family to return the favor—giving people a place to sit when they visit the parts store.
It’s clear, however, that nothing can fill the place Kellerman held in the small community.