Brian T. Keim, 67, lawyer, gardener

Brian T. Keim, 67, of Rydal, a longtime lawyer at Ballard Spahr who worked on the merger that formed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1988, died Thursday, Aug. 26, of gastrointestinal bleeding at his home.

Mr. Keim's wife, Catharine, said he helped represent the Lutheran Church in America when it merged with the American Lutheran Church and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches.

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Brian T. Keim

Mr. Keim, whose garden has more than 600 azaleas and rhododendrons, was president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society from 1989 to 1994.

He was on the board of trustees of the Meadowbrook School from 1980 to 1994. He was the board president from 1986 to 1990.

Since 2005, Mr. Keim was a council member at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Glenside and vice president until serving as council president since 2009.

Mr. Keim was also foundation board chair of the Artman Lutheran Home in Ambler from 1992 to 1999 and board chair from 2001 to 2005 of Liberty Lutheran Services, the social services agency of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Mr. Keim, born in West Chester, graduated from Cheltenham High School in 1961, where his father was principal.

Mr. Keim earned a bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1965 and a law degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1968.

After clerking for a federal tax-court judge in Washington from 1968 to 1970, Mr. Keim worked for the Philadelphia law firm Ballard Spahr from 1970 to 1977.

He left the firm to work as senior vice president and general counsel at the Manhattan offices of Barber Oil Corp. until 1980.

He returned to Ballard Spahr as first financial manager, helped expand the firm in Frankfurt, West Germany; Salt Lake City; and Washington. He left in 1998 as head of its business and finance group.

Until his retirement in 2009, Mr. Keim was vice president and general counsel for LWB Refractories Co. in York, Pa.

Describing their garden, Mr. Keim's wife said that the smallest shrubs measured only a foot tall and wide, but that "we have some 12, 15 feet high. . . .

"Our garden starts to bloom as early as February," she said, and "we have a couple coming yet."

When the American Rhododendron Society met in the region in 2004, she said, the Keims' "was one of the featured gardens."

Besides his wife of 44 years, Mr. Keim is survived by sons Todd and John, daughter Laura Keim, and four grandchildren.

A visitation was set for 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31, at Wetzel & Son Funeral Home, 501 N. Easton Rd., Willow Grove. Another visitation was set for 9:30 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1, at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 120 N. Easton Rd., Glenside, before an 11 a.m. memorial service there.


Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 215-854-5607 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.