Pharmacist Maurice (Maury) Keltsch, whose last name was a household word for many Fort Wayne-area residents, died Monday.
Keltsch, 89, was part of the family who owned and ran Keltsch Bros. Pharmacies, Fort Wayne neighborhood fixtures for more than seven decades.
Keltsch and his late brother, Donald Keltsch, took over a business that was started in 1924 by their father, Carl Keltsch. It remained a single drugstore until 1959 when it was incorporated.
The business had as many as 17 stores at its peak in 1989 and was the largest independent drugstore chain in Indiana at one time. Keltsch retired in 1993 after 43 years with the business, which later located inside several area Scott’s supermarkets.
A member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, for more than 50 years, Keltsch was remembered in an email by the church’s pastor, the Rev. Thomas Eggold, as "a gentle, faithful man who was dearly loved by his Emmanuel family."
Keltsch "was an accomplished and celebrated leader in the Fort Wayne community, but you would never know it from talking with him," Eggold said. "He had a deep sense of humility and a faith that pointed to the promises of God in Christ alone."
Keltsch was given a Sagamore of the Wabash award, the highest honor bestowed on Hoosiers, in 2004 for his extensive volunteer work. At that time, he was president of the board of directors of Artlink, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary.
He also served on the boards of directors of Lutheran Hospital (1970-1982), Emmanuel Lutheran Church, the former AIDS Task Force of Northeast Indiana (now the Positive Resource Center) in Fort Wayne, the Fort Wayne YMCA, and local chapters of the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association and the Helen VanArnam Foundation. He was a charter member of the Franke Park Lions Club.
A Navy veteran, Keltsch also was a member of the Dean’s Council of the Purdue University School of Pharmacy, from which he graduated in 1945. He was a devoted fan of Purdue University football and attended as many games as possible.
In later years, he served as unofficial business consultant to his daughter Sara Keltsch, owner of the Monogram Shoppe in Covington Plaza in Fort Wayne.
Keltsch was preceded in death by his wife, Betty I. Keltsch. He is survived by his sisters Ruth Cole of Studio City, California, and Mildred Franke of Fort Wayne. He also is survived by three daughters Sara (Dan Thue) Keltsch of Fort Wayne; Molly (Dana Leininger) Keltsch of Fort Myers Beach, Florida, and Amanda (Scott) Senger of Fort Wayne, and the Sengers’ daughters, Sydney and Shelby Senger.
D.O. McComb & Sons, Fort Wayne, is handling funeral arrangements. A service will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1636 St. Mary’s Ave., with Eggold officiating. Calling hours are 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at McComb’s Covington Knolls location, 8325 Covington Road. Burial will be in Greenlawn Memorial Park, Fort Wayne.
Memorials may be made to the Positive Resource Center or Emmanuel Lutheran Church.
An online guest book is at www.domccombandsons.com.