LITTLE VALLEY — Former Cattaraugus County Treasurer Joseph G. Keller was called out of retirement for a surprise.

The current treasurer, Matthew Keller, called his father Thursday for some help, then sprung a series of surprise visits from many of the departments and employees he worked with over his 28 years as treasurer.

Others who were unable to get to Little Valley during the surprise party chatted with the former treasurer via WebEx video from the Olean Office Building. Public Health Director Dr. Kevin D. Watkins laughed as he thanked Keller for all the jokes he’d told over the years they’d known each other.

Joseph Keller did not seek re-election to an eighth term last November. Matthew Keller, a former county legislator who has been deputy treasurer for the past five years, was elected without opposition.

Matthew Keller assembled a binder with photos and illustrations of previous annual reports that included a small photo of Joseph Keller somewhere in the cover photo.

“It was a surprise,” Joseph Keller remarked. “I thought we were going to lunch.”

The surprise party was in the James J. Snyder Legislative Chamber, where Joseph Keller once served as a legislator. His son is also a former county lawmaker.

Due to coronavirus concerns, visitors came in small groups at scheduled times. All wore masks and kept a social distance from both Kellers. Individual cupcakes and water bottles were given to visitors to take back to their offices.

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