VACAVILLE (CBS13) – May the 4th is a well-known and celebrated day for those with affection for all things Star Wars, but this year is different for some who are celebrating the storied saga.

What may seem a long time ago in a city not too far, far, away, Ira Keeler became one with the force; designing a cherished costume in the Star Wars franchise.

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“As one of the major driving forces behind the current aesthetics as we call it the biker scout, he’s a hero among biker scouts,” Ricky Resurreccion, a member of the Golden Gate Garrison, said.

“He was just very precious and he, you know, really loved what he did.” Kris Yalung, a member of the Golden Gate Garrison, said.

Ira Keeler (credit: Joy Keeler)

Keeler, who lived in Vacaville, gave the stormtroopers in “Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi,” an iconic imperial look as a member of Industrial Light and Magic.

Sadly, Keeler’s light dwindled due to a long illness and he passed away last month. His family wanting Keeler to be honored in a fitting way in more ways than one.

“They’re requesting if someone of our biker scout members could stand as honor guard during his memorial and funeral,” Resurreccion said.

Members of the Golden Gate Garrison, a Bay Area Star Wars cosplay group that made Keeler an honorary member, paid tribute not to the empire but Keeler’s legacy.

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“It’s our way of giving back to one of those Star Wars luminaries who made the movies real for us,” Resurreccion said.

Resurreccion told CBS13 when he met Keeler that he was a humble and jovial man.

Those who donned the uniform of the Star Wars enemies came to celebrate one of their heroes.

“His older brother comes up to each of the biker scouts and he says, ‘Thank you.’ And you could tell that his eyes were welling up,” Yalung said. “I have to admit I was trying not to cry in my helmet. Thank goodness my face wasn’t showing.”

This May the 4th is without an important member who brought part of the imperial empire to life. But, those who cherished and knew Keeler can still feel his force around them.

“As they say in Star Wars, no one is really gone. For us, Ira will always be with us,” Resurreccion said.

Keeler’s work in the film industry included more than just Star Wars. He worked on visual effects for “The Back To The Future” franchise, “Jurassic Park” movies, and two of the “Indiana Jones” movies.

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