Louis Keller, 87, of Edgeley, ND, died July 11. Keller and his brother, Cyril, invented the skid-steer loader, which in 1958 was bought by the Melroe Manufacturing Co., Gwinner, ND, which would later become the Bobcat Co. More than 750,000 Bobcat skid-steer loaders have been produced.
Bobcat, West Fargo, ND, released the following statement:
“We were saddened to learn about the passing of Louis Keller, one of the inventors of the compact, three-wheeled machine that led to the first Bobcat-branded skid-steer loader. Louis was among those honored in 2004 as Bobcat received the ASAE ‘Historic Landmark’ award — a recognition reserved only for the most important agricultural innovations in American history. And two years ago, during our 50th anniversary, we celebrated Louis and his brother, Cyril, and everyone else who helped make Bobcat a success over the last five decades.
“The Keller brothers’ drive to help make common jobs easier for farmers and others helped launch the compact equipment industry, and their contributions to Bobcat and the state of North Dakota in particular will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Keller family, and we join them in honoring Louis’ legacy.”
Keller left Melroe Manufacturing and would go on to develop a set of tracks called Tire Tracks, which were manufactured by Loegering Manufacturing, a company owned by his daughter, Marilyn, and her husband, George Loegering.
Keller was preceded in death by his wives Bernice and Mary Ann, his parents and his sister, Dorothy. He is survived by his wife, Doraine, and her three children; his 10 children; 52 grandchildren; 77 great grandchildren; three brothers and nine sisters.