Keith Gurd

Apr 25th 1934 - Dec 5th 2007

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For Keith Gurd, family was always the greatest treasure. He led a simple yet fulfilled life. He was a considerate, friendly, straightforward man with a good sense of humor. He was the happiest with his family, and in their company a familiar smile always sat upon his lips.

With the crash of the stock market, the Great Depression spread throughout America, affecting nearly one out of every four workers with unemployment. In Doster, Michigan, Lee Gurd and his wife Nina Merklinger maintained their optimistic outlook by focusing on a different future, the future of their family. They were expecting a child, and on April 25, 1934 they were blessed with the healthy birth of their son Keith LeRoy.

One of seven children, Keith grew up on the family farm in Prairieville, with the company of his many brothers and sisters. The farm trained him to become a hard worker, a mindset that he possessed throughout his lifetime. He attended the public schools in Delton, and in his free time he enjoyed fishing and hunting. When he was a young man he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He honorably served during the Korean Conflict.

After his discharge, Keith returned to Michigan. He found work farming crops and animals for farmers in the Plainwell area. Keith was a farmer at heart, and enjoyed his time spent on and around farms of any kind. In the late 1960’s, he met a woman named Berena Neal. Their friendship evolved into a romance, and on April 26, 1969 they were united in marriage. Berena entered the marriage with five children, three who still lived at home; Keith raised them as if they were his own.

Keith was very family-oriented. He was the happiest in the company of his wife and children. Many of his favorite memories include picnics and visits to Gun Lake. He enjoyed a simple life. Beyond family, he needed few frills. He happily spent his time farming, though bad eyesight caused him to retire from the fields around age fifty.

To live the life of a farmer, you must skill yourself in many different areas of knowledge. Keith had become quite handy in the areas of mechanics and carpentry. After his retirement even, he enjoyed tinkering and fixing the things that he still could. He also never lost his love of the outdoors. Keith enjoyed being out in his yard, working and tending to things.

Keith lived a life full of family and laughter. He will forever be missed by those who loved him.

Keith died on December 5, 2007, at the Life Care Center of Plainwell. Learn more about Keith, view his Life Story Film, and visit with his family, on Friday from 5-8 PM at the Life Story Funeral Home, RDMG, Plainwell, 120 S. Woodhams, where his service will be held on Saturday at 11 AM. Burial will follow at the Oak Hill Cemetery with military honors by the VFW Post 3030 in Otsego. Keith’s family includes his wife, Berena; his children: Don & Diane Barker of Kalamazoo, Evon Fetterley of Shelbyville, Robin & Phil Fair of Florida, and Terry Griffin of Plainwell; 11 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren; his sister, Betty & Bob Killick of Plainwell and many nieces and nephews. Keith was preceded in death by his daughter, Cheryl Conley and his son-in-law, Sonny Fetterley, his parents, and his siblings: Bob, Royce, Fritz, Ray, & Harold Gurd. Please visit Keith’s memory page at, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo, sign his online guest book, or make a memorial donation to the American Lung Association.

Keith Gurd