By Carter B. Horsley
A very large overflow crowd
attended the funeral service Friday, March 13, 2009 at Frank E.
Campbell's on Madison Avenue at 81st Street to mourn the passing
of Braden Keil, the "Gimme Shelter" columnist of The
New York Post.
Mr. Keil was 53 years old and
died of cancer March 10, 2009.
His column regularly scooped
the real estate news competition in the city on the comings and
goings of celebrities in and out of some of the city's most prestigious,
or at least, famous residential buildings. Often his items appeared
on Page Six of The Post, the nation's foremost "gossip"
In a very moving eulogy, his
brother Bryant Keil described Braden Keil has a "true renaissance
man" who was a ranked tennis player, an oenophile and a person
whose bon vivant was contagious. He recalled that when they were
younger he gave a party when their parents were away. When they
returned the parents were somewhat startled to discover about
200 people and ten kegs of beer on their roof. "It was not
a flat roof. It was pitched," and the parents smiled.
In his remarks, Sylvester Miniter,
a friend, said that Mr. Keil had a "special magnetism"
and that he was "the most popular man in town in Washington
and the parties started when he entered."
David Blee recounted Mr.Keil's
days writing for Washington Life and Hamptons magazines and said
that friends would gather at Keil's home at 3 AM "expecting
him to return home." At one point, he said, he was put in
charge of marketing a Washington mansion that was being converted
to residential condominiums and he insisted that at least one
room be nicely furnished to give potential customers an idea of
what it might be like. "He moved into it" and the developer
only got him out by having the furniture removed but it and the
other units all sold, Mr. Blee said.
Richard Johnson, the editor
of Page Six, noted that many compared Mr. Keil to the "Great
Gatsby," but added that "the Great Gatsby was a phony;
Keil was the real thing!"
Col Allan, the editor of The
Post, said that he was wearing a blue blazer and no tie in honor
of Mr. Keil's customary sartorial attire but added that he was
wearing socks, which Mr. Keil disdained. "The clothes,"
he said, "were attached to nothing but that smile!"
Mr. Keil, Mr. Allan continued,
"was at the center of the city's real estate voyeurism world
where few people wanted to cooperate," adding that Mr. Keil
was in the mold of Steve Dunleavy, the newspaper's legendary columnist
and imbiber but that Mr. Keil would at least "take food with
his lunch." "Any Australian would be proud to call him
mate," he said.
I met Mr. Keil one late night
at Elaine's and introduced myself since I had formerly been the
real estate editor at The Post and he stood up and said he knew
who I was and liked my work. On my way out as I passed the still
carousing table of Post writers and editors, he got up to say
I should never hesitate to call him if I needed to. He did, indeed,
have a wonderful smile.
He is survived by his wife,
Jennifer Gould Keil, a reporter at The Post, their two children,
Braden Lewis, 5, and Kaitlin Rose, three, and his daughter, Kourtney
Lee, twenty-one, his brother, Bryant, his parents, Herbert and
Marilyn Keil, and his sisters, Sue Keil, Beth Keil Huffstetler
and Nancy Solomon Keil.
Contributions in his memory
can be made to Beth Israel Medical Center's Department of Pain,
Medicine and Palliative Care, 12 Baird, First Avenue at 15th Street,
New York, NY 10003.