Braden Keil

Braden Keil

Braden Keil

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" generator.

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.

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