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Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Keith Boyer would agree that he was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was always busy and worked hard in everything he did, yet he also made the time to enjoy life along the way. A more loving and devoted family man would be hard to find, and Keith had a special way of making his kids feel like they were so deeply loved in their own unique way. He took great pride in his things, and it has been said that he was a bit meticulous when it came to his yard and cars. A friend of Keith’s was a friend for life, and he was the sort of man who would do whatever he could for someone else. Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
The 1930s brought us some of the most trying days we have ever faced as a nation as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and countless American families were left doing whatever they could to make ends meet. It was just as this decade was dawning that Glenn and Elizabeth (Klier) Boyer were pleased to announce the birth of the baby they named Keith on March 1, 1930, in Flint, Michigan. He was the youngest of four, joined in his family by his older brothers, Glen, Kenneth, and Ralph. His parents were also house parents for the Michigan School for the Deaf, and his father also worked at General Motors. Growing up in Flint, Keith attended local schools. After graduating from Flint Northern in 1948, he went into the Merchant Marines where he piloted a Myron C. Taylor on the Great Lakes before getting selected by the Navy.
Not to be forgotten during Keith’s younger years was his introduction to the young woman of his dreams. Her name was Kay, and they were introduced by his brother while Keith was in the service. Although they were separated by distance, they corresponded through letters, falling more deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together, Keith and Kay were married less than a year after meeting in 1953. Together they were blessed with the births of two children, Sherry and Kent. They lived in Flint for a time then moved to Terra Haute, Indiana, before finally settling in Kalamazoo, Michigan. To support his family, Keith worked as a pharmaceutical representative for 37 years. Spending time as a family was always vitally important to Keith. They had a cabin on the St. Mary’s River where they spent much of their time each summer. This provided the backdrop for priceless family memories to be made. They hunted and fished, and over the years there were always dogs around the house, too. When moving to Kalamazoo, Keith looked up Jim Monk, who was someone his parents had cared for in the Michigan deaf school when they were kids. He found him, and Keith and Jim were best friends ever since.
Throughout his life Keith was a man of many interests and never stopped moving as he was always doing something. Much of his time was spent tending to his house and yard as he was the envy of the neighborhood. Keith also had the best looking cars around, and it has been said that he polished his car so much that he rubbed right through the paint! He liked country and western, played the guitar, liked a good steak on the grill and loved fishing. As an outdoor lover he and his son, Kent, backpacked across the Upper Peninsula when Kent was 16. Keith volunteered for Boy Scouts and was a wonderful role model. A longtime member of his church, Keith served as an elder there for years.
When reflecting on the life of Keith Boyer, words such as hardworking, dedicated, and genuine come to mind, but perhaps the word that paints the most accurate picture of him is intense. He was a man of integrity who was very proud and cherished the things he worked hard for. Someone who always made time for family, Keith was a devoted family man who tenderly cared for his wife as she suffered with Parkinson’s disease for more than 18 years. He was never one to let life get the best of him, and his faith was his constant companion. Deeply loved, Keith will never be forgotten.
Keith Boyer, of Kalamazoo, went to be with the Lord on August 12, 2016, at Brookdale Senior Living. A celebration of life gathering took place on Monday, August 15, 2016 at Life Story Funeral Home in Portage. Keith’s family includes his children: Sherry (Tom) Pawlawski and Kent (June) Boyer; 4 grandchildren: Travis, Tracy, Ryan (Clarinda) and Joy; 5 great grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; 3 brothers: Glenn, Kenneth and Ralph. Keith served his country proudly in the Merchant Marines and then the Navy. Please visit Keith’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read his life story, archive a memory or photo and sign his memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to the Boy Scouts of America.