Clifford Albert Keels, or “Cliff” the son of the late George and Henrietta Keels Sr. was born on April 20, 1959 in Norwalk, Connecticut. He attended the Norwalk Public School system. Cliff enlisted in the Marines and was stationed at Cherry Point, NC. It was there he met his wife Elizabeth. While in the military he worked as a Military Police and a cook. During his time in the Marines, not only did he serve his country, he also mastered the art of cooking and this is also where his passion for the preparation of culinary delights was ignited.
After an honorable discharge from the Marines, Clifford and Elizabeth moved back to Connecticut where they have resided and raised their family together, until he entered eternal rest. Clifford was employed by Norwalk Hospital, where he worked in the kitchen for over 20 years. During that time, he had his own catering service specializing in his much sought-after southern cuisine and barbecue. In addition, he also worked for Sodexho for over 10 years, as a corporate cook.
Clifford was a member of the Gethsemane Garden Baptist Church in New York where he was affectionately referred to as “ Chef Keels”. He attended Gethsemane faithfully, until he became ill. The members and visiting churches looked forward to the delicious food he prepared and everyone wanted an invitation to his cookouts during the holidays.
Chef Keels and Rev. Keels were instrumental in the start up of the Meal Ministry at Gethsemane Garden. He took great pride in preparing Meals for the Homeless. Seeing their faces as they ate brought great joy to him. Whatever he made had to be done from scratch. He said it had to be like his table at home. A meal fit for a king. The Thanksgiving line would be down the block.
Clifford is survived by his devoted wife Rev. Elizabeth Oliver Keels, four sons; Jamel (Mariana), Antoine, Louis, Michael, five grandchildren; Emma, Leila, Brooks, Willow and Ayden, four sisters; Gelaine Shaw of Holy Hill, SC, Dorothy Keels (Hazel), Gwendolyn “Butchie” Keels, and Katherine Keels (Larry), all of Norwalk, and one brother; George Keels, Jr. (Barbara) of Bridgeport; daughter-in-law Tara Keels of North Haven, his in laws Pastor Earleand Oliver and Deacon Jacob Oliver of New York; a sister-in-law Fernesta Little of New York, three aunts; Julia Butler, Vivian Keels and Cora Keels. He has a host of nieces, nephews and cousins. Clifford was predeceased by his brother James Keels.
Interment with Military Honors will take place at 12:00 Noon, Riverside Cemetery, 81 Riverside Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06850