By The Honorable Guy R. Humphrey, Southern District of Ohio
It is with heavy hearts that we in Dayton, Ohio say our farewells to Jeff Kellner as our Chapter 13 Trustee. Jeff will be concluding his duties as the Trustee on September 30th and handing the reins over to John Jansing on October 1st. Listing Jeff’s contributions to the bankruptcy practice and, particularly Chapter 13, in Dayton would take far too much paper to relay in one article. However, I’ll try to hit some of the highlights.
Jeff had big shoes to fill when he came to Dayton after being counsel to the Columbus Chapter 13 Trustee, Frank Pees, for 12 years. In 2001 Jeff succeeded George Ledford who broke new ground in blazing the Chapter 13 trail in Dayton. He more than filled George’s shoes and elevated the Chapter 13 program and practice to a new level.
Jeff’s forte has been the smooth administration of a busy Chapter 13 program, successfully ushering thousands of cases through the 13 gauntlet with the tremendous respect and admiration of the entire bankruptcy bar and I am sure – many a debtor.
However, Jeff’s contributions were not limited to his professional administration of a very busy Chapter 13 program. He has been at the forefront of the continued development of the Chapter 13 practice across the Southern District of Ohio. We will particularly miss his leading our local bankruptcy group – The Thomas F. Waldron American Bankruptcy Law Forum (“ABLF”), for which he served as Trustee, Secretary, Treasurer, and chief bottle washer. He served in similar capacities for our Bankruptcy-Bench Bar Conference for the District. In leading ABLF, Jeff has made countless arrangements for meeting space, parking passes, continuing legal education materials and credits for attorneys, and lead the charge in recruiting and signing up new attorneys. We owe Jeff a big debt of gratitude for maintaining ABLF as a strong and healthy organization.
In addition, Jeff has been an extraordinary leader in attorney education, regularly holding very popular Chapter 13 seminars and speaking at other CLE programs. He has been instrumental in the development of a uniform District Chapter 13 Plan and in the writing of local bankruptcy rules and other District-wide procedures. His weekly electronic newsletter to practitioners proved an invaluable source of information.
Jeff is headed off to New Hampshire, where he and his wife, Sylvia, have built their retirement home. We will greatly miss Jeff and wish Jeff and Sylvia many wonderful pancake and waffle breakfasts filled with the company of family and friends and the sweet taste and smell of original New Hampshire maple syrup.