Ralph Holley Keefler CBE DSO ED BASc was born at Toronto (Weston) Ontario, son of Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Keefler and Margaret Isabel (Holley) Keefler. He was educated at the University of Toronto where he received his BASc in Mechanical Engineering. In 1924, he began his professional career with Bell Telephone Company in Montreal Quebec.

In WW2 Keefler joined the army in 1940 and in 1943 commanded the 2nd Division Artillery with the rank of Brigadier. He landed in Normandy with his troops in June 1944 and fought through Caen and Falaise. During fighting for Scheldt Estuary, Keefler had temporary command of the 2nd Canadian Division and in recognition of his skill and gallantry at this time, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). He commanded the 6th Infantry Brigade in 1945 until he was promoted to major general, in 1945, and placed in command of the 3rd Canadian Division, also known as "water rats" because water never held them up. Keefler was twice mentionned in despatches.

In recognition of his outstanding service during the Normandy breakthrough to Caen and Falaise, the British government named Keefler a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). The French government named him a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur and awarded him the Croix de Guerre avec Palme. Major General Keefler was also awarded the Efficiency Decoration (ED).

After WW2, Keefler rejoined Bell Telephone and rose in the telecommunications industry to the position of President and Chairman of the Board for Northern Electric Company. He also volunteered in executive positions with Canadian Red Cross, St. John Ambulance Society, Mount Allison University and with other organizations. In September 1927 he had married Beatrice Louise Taschereau, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Taschereau. They had one son (Robert) and one daughter (Lois).