Thursday, March 17, 2016
11:00 AM EDT
Lake Center Bible Church
995 Romence Road
Portage, MI 49024
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Church of your Choice
St. Jude Children's Hospital
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Through the life he lived each day, Keith Gage made a significant impact in the hearts and lives of everyone he met. He was hardworking, deeply devoted to his loved ones, and filled with a zest for life that was contagious to all who were near. Faith was a cornerstone in his life, and it was easy to see that Keith adored his family. A wonderful mentor to his children and grandchildren, he was a man of honor, integrity, and sound moral principle. Life will never be the same without him here, but Keith’s family and friends will proudly carry on his timeless legacy.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. Countless young servicemen and women were serving while those who remained stateside became familiar with rationing on common goods like paper, sugar, coffee, and rubber. Amidst this eventful time was the year 1944 when Howard and Lillian (Pierce) Gage were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Keith Howard on August 19, 1944, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was their only child, and he spent his entire life in the Kalamazoo area. To support their family his father was in HVAC for AMS while his mother was a homemaker. As a child Keith enjoyed roller skating at Long Lake at the age of 11 and at J & D Roller Rink, which was located on Portage Road. He was a student at Mattawan Schools from kindergarten on, and he was a great sax player who even took over directing the band for the teachers while they were on vacation.
While growing up Keith treasured his family and friends. He loved his cousins, Tanya and Ronnie, and he spent a lot of time with them. Keith loved everyone in his family and was always looking for ways that he could please them. His love for Grampa Pat and Aunt Joyce was particularly significant. Keith loved to work with Grampa Pat on the family farm with cousin Ronnie. He was also so proud of being like his father including getting into the same field of work. Keith never forgot the time that he and his neighbor, Judy, got “married.” Judy ended up losing her baby ring in the grass, which was something that her mother never quite forgot! After graduating from Mattawan High School in 1962, Keith began working toward becoming a certified mechanical engineer.
Life was forever changed for Keith when he met the woman who would forever hold the key to his heart. Her name was Saundra Dangerfield, and it was love at first sight as it was no secret that she thought he was the best looking 11 year old that she had ever seen! Sandy was always proud about how he was the best dressed young man around with beautiful black hair and brown eyes as well. From the moment he entered J & D Roller Rink, she just knew that he was the one for her since her heart skipped a beat! Keith and Sandy became partners and loved to dance on skates together on Saturday nights, and their friendship later blossomed into true love. They were truly the other’s better half, and together they completed one another. Sandy had always prayed that God would bring the right man into her life, and she was always so thankful that He did. With a desire to establish a life together, the sweethearts were married on December 31, 1962, in an intimate ceremony when she was just 17 ½ years old. This marked the beginning of a new chapter in a love story that would span 54 years. Keith was able to avoid being sent to Vietnam because he got married, and he again was able to avoid being sent overseas because he had become a father two years later.
Throughout his life Keith treasured his family. He and Sandy welcomed three children, Debbra, Bryan, and Patrick, into their hearts and home. Keith was an outstanding role model for his family and loved helping each of his children discover their own unique gifts and talents. He was later thrilled to become a grandfather to the precious grandchildren who affectionately called him “Boppy.” He taught his granddaughter, Morgan, to drive and roller-skate while he enjoyed riding horses with Amber when she was in 4-H. Keith also enjoyed taking the family on yearly camping vacations which at times would include nieces and nephews. Some more priceless family memories were made when they rented skidoos on Lake Michigan one summer. They all just played around and laughed all day. Keith enjoyed taking his kids to church and also taking his boys to karate at church. Their white poodle, Baby Princess, was his best friend while healing from a head injury in 1989. She was Keith’s faithful companion who never left his side.
A resident of Schoolcraft for 45 years, Keith’s days were always full. He worked for the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 357 in Kalamazoo for 50 years. In fact it is the same Local that three generations of Gage's have been members of, including his father, himself and son, Bryan. Sandy's father Charles Dangerfield was also a member of the local. Keith’s faith was first and foremost in his life, and for years he was a member of Lake Center Bible Church where he also served as a deacon. He was an avid photographer who started taking on wedding photography as a second job that he truly loved. In his free time, Keith enjoyed taking photos of bugs, birds, bees, and flowers. Keith liked woodworking and was a genuine handyman who could seem to fix anything. Working on cars with his boys was something he could also be found doing. After retiring in 2008, Keith loved camping and wanted to see the country in his Class A motorhome. He and Sandy also spent six months in Florida during the winter season.
All who knew Keith Gage would agree that he was truly extraordinary. He was highly intelligent and filled with life experiences that he applied to everything he did. Keith loved sharing what he knew and was always teaching someone the tricks of the trade. A man of faith who was the patriarch of his family and filled with unending devotion to his wife, children, and grandchildren, he was a true gift. Although he will be deeply missed, Keith’s family finds comfort in knowing that he is enjoying perfect peace in his eternal home.
Keith Howard Gage, of Kalamazoo, MI, died on February 12, 2016. Keith’s family includes his wife, Saundra Gage; children, Debbra S. (Don) Mack of Schoolcraft, Bryan Keith (Iva) Gage of Wayland, and Patrick James (Sarah) Gage of Portage; grandchildren, Amber (Kenny) Lemmer and Devon Mack, Cheyenne Mack, Serenity Mack, Samaria Mack. (Bryan Gage) Nathan M. Gage and Morgan T. Gage; step-grandsons, Troy and Travis. (Patrick Gage) Katelyn Beth Gage; step-grandsons, Joshua, Timothy and Matthew; great-grandsons, Gannon M. Gage and Brody A. Lemmer. Keith was preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Lillian Gage. Memorial services for Keith will be held at 11 a.m. on March 17th, 2016 at Lake Center Bible Church at 995 Romence Road, Portage, MI 49024, Phone:(269) 327-1004. Please visit Keith’s webpage at www.lifestorynet.com where you can sign his guestbook and share a memory and/or photo. Those who wish may make memorials to the St. Jude’s Children Hospital or church of your choice. The family is being assisted by the Life Story Funeral Home, 409 S. Main, Vicksburg, (269-649-1697).