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Saturday 11 April 2015

Private, professional Keller remembered

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News
By Daily News staff - 7th April 2015

Vern Keller
Vern Keller, the long-serving NZ AIDS Foundation librarian and researcher who died suddenly at the weekend is being remembered for his professionalism, skill and sense of humour.

Vern will always be remembered as the most caring, sincere and positive man,” says ex-NZAF chair Jonathan Smith whose partner Kevin Baker was for a time the Foundation's Positive Health Manager. “We had many dealings with Vern when we were involved with NZAF. His knowledge and access to information was outstanding making our jobs all the easier.”

Smith says Keller had “a fantastic sense of humour which many were not aware of as he was very private man. This is a huge loss to NZAF and the HIV and broader GLBTT community. He will be sadly missed.”

Another ex-NZAF staffer, who managed the Foundation's Auckland support and counselling centre, says Keller's knowledge of matters relating to HIV was “astounding.”

He was an amazing person for information... he knew so much and new how to access so much, much more,” says Wayne Otter. His knowledge of what was happening in the sexual health area here and overseas was astounding.”

Although remembering Keller as an easy conversationalist, Otter notes that he always preferred to work “in the engine room” of the Foundation. “He was never a 'front person' but whenever people at the Foundation needed to make presentations or be involved in debates “Vern would always be there in the background making sure they had what was needed and that things went smoothly.”

Keller died suddenly and unexpectedly at the weekend. Details of any funeral or memorial service have not yet been announced.

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