In Memory of





Obituary for Else Jofrid Keil (Bertelsen)

Else Jofrid Keil, 88, of Colby, received her gift of eternal life on Monday, January 3, 2022 at Citizens Medical Center, Colby, KS. She was born May 26, 1933 in Stavanger, Norway to Berge and Inger Serine (Vestre) Bertelsen.

Else was baptized in the faith June 23, 1933 and a lifelong member of the Lutheran Church. She was a member of LWML (Lutheran Women’s Missionary League) for more than 50 years. She served at church, assisted with Girl Scouts and stayed involved with all of her kids’ and grandkids’ activities.

Else grew up in Norway during the time Germany occupied the country. Watching the German Army march through the streets of her hometown at 7 years of age, she told her mother that she was moving to the United States when she was older. That came true at the age of 21, when she fell in love with Marvin Keil, a U.S. Air Force communications specialist. They married on June 5, 1954 at St. Petri Lutheran Church in Stavanger, Norway and moved to England before leaving for the U.S. After arriving in America, Else and Marvin started a family, living in Russell, Hays, Concordia, and Stockton. In 1965 they moved to Colby where they resided for the rest of their lives.

Else was a homemaker for many years until she started working as a cook and baker for the Colby Middle and High Schools. She was best known for the delicious cinnamon rolls. Else was a talented seamstress, skilled in needlework, crocheting, knitting, painting and woodworking. Over the years she has given away 100’s of projects that her family and friends treasure. Her last project was a crocheted 5’ x 4’ wall hanging of The Lord’s Prayer which is on display at Salem Lutheran Church in Taylorsville, NC.

Else was one of those gifted people who made friends out of strangers. She loved to travel with her family and met many people along the way. Family gatherings always included playing games and her family knew her as a strong competitor and gracious loser. She was one of the most selfless people, doing what was best to serve her family and others. She had several health struggles over the past couple of years, but she faced adversity with steady grace and tenacity with faith in God to see her through.

Else was preceded in death by her husband of 63 years, Marvin Keil; her parents; siblings, Arne Bertelsen, Berit Karlsen and Ragnhild Wathne; and sons-in-law, Jim Spain and Don O’Briant.

She is survived by her children: Susan Spain (Scott Stone), Manhattan, KS; Sharon O’Briant, Brandon, MS; Mary (Tom) Shoaff, Colby, KS; and Martin (Angie) Keil, Brandon, MS. Sibling: Oda Lund, Hafrsfjord, Norway; thirteen grandchildren, twenty-two great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild along with other relatives in the U.S. and Norway.

Visitation is Thursday, January 6, 2022, from 5-7:00 p.m. at Baalmann Mortuary, Colby. Funeral Service is Friday, January 7, 2022, at 10:30 a.m., Trinity Lutheran Church, Colby, with burial to follow in Beulah Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to Trinity Lutheran Church or Pioneer Memorial Library for Large Print Books in care of Baalmann Mortuary, PO Box 391, Colby, KS 67701. For condolences or information visit