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Keller, Marion and Otto
1889 to 1953 and 1888 to 1942
Pentecostal
Tanzania / Kenya

Marian and Otto were missionaries to Tanzania and Kenya. Born at Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada, to devout Anglican parents, Marian (neé Weller) graduated from the Normal Training School and began her career as a schoolteacher. In 1909 she came into contact with the Pentecostal movement and soon after enrolled at the Rochester (New York) Bible Training School, directed by Elizabeth V. Baker and her sisters, and felt called to Africa as a missionary.

While at the Rochester School, Marian met and married Karl Wittich, a Baptist minister and fellow student. The Wittichs left for Tanganyika (present-day Tanzania) in 1913 as independent Pentecostal missionaries. After three months, they became ill from drinking the water; Karl died, but Marian recovered and remained in the country to continue as a missionary. Five years later, she married Otto C. Keller, an American Pentecostal missionary who had come to Africa about 1914. They moved north to British East Africa (present-day Kenya), and, in 1924, affiliated with the Pentecostal Assemblies of God of Canada. Additional Canadian missionaries joined the work and strong evangelistic and educational ministry resulted. The legacy of the Kellers can be found in the (Kenyan) Pentecostal Assemblies of God, a strong national church with indigenous leadership. After Otto's death, Marian carried on the ministry in Kenya until 1946, when she retired to Victoria, British Columbia.

Gary B. McGee


Bibliography:

Gordon C. Atter, The Third Force, 2d ed. (1965); Marian Keller, Twenty Years in Africa (c. 1933); Gloria G. Kulbeck, What God Hath Wrought: A History of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (1958).


This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.