In spring 2007 George Keith submitted this biographical sketch for the 50th Reunion Classbook:
“I don't seem to have many exciting things to
report. My life just seems go along.
If you doubt global warming, just go to Greenland and see the glaciers retreating.
“My most interesting activity has been five trips to Greenland over the last seven years. I find Greenland fascinating: small towns with brightly colored houses and endless ice and glaciers. Much of it is beautiful. lf you doubt global warming, just go to Greenland and see the glaciers retreating. Some have retreated over ten miles in the last decade. New islands are being 'discovered' when the ice melts and areas which were thought to be part of the mainland are found to be islands instead. They call these 'warming islands.' lt is not my intent to turn this into a political diatribe, but the problem is serious.
“I continue to work on printer software. We sell to printer manufacturers; we convert the garbage which comes out of the computer into the dots on the paper. It is certainly a niche market. I have told Art that I am not thinking of retirement, but now I think about it on Monday mornings.
“My wife has retired and spends her time traveling and visiting our four grandsons, two from each of our sons. Women are hard to come by in our family. Marriage seems to be the only way.
“Beyond that, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that our daughter-in-law is expecting our fifth grandson in May, 2007.
“The bad news is that I have lung cancer. I am undergoing chemotherapy, but it is not working too well so far. I do not know if I will make the reunion.”
George sadly died soon after he wrote this letter. But its tone is vintage George. It recalls the quiet, decent, somewhat private person we knew in college and suggests how these qualities carried over into adulthood. George became a quiet, decent, rock-solid citizen and pillar of his community. He always characterized his life as unexciting. Yet he could surprise with truly unusual and unpredictable interests.
At Amherst George majored in physics, was technical director of WAMF, house manager of Chi Phi, and a member of the Glee Club. But he was also an accomplished organist and a creative entrepreneur. George ran a birthday cake service to enable parents to get a cake to their sons on just the right date.
My life is unexciting.” Yet George could surprise with truly unusual and unpredictable interests.
He was similarly active in the local Boy Scouts and the father of two Eagle Scouts, and maintained lifelong interests in baseball and bridge. In conversations with classmates, he seemed to take his engineering accomplishments and community work for granted, and instead spoke with animation about the beauty and lessons of Greenland.
George is survived by his wife, Virginia, whom he dated at Mount Holyoke while in college, sons Andrew and Jonathan, their wives, and now – yes – five grandsons. As George characteristically had put it, “Women are hard to come by in our family.”
George Eldon Keith Jr. died July 14, 2007, from lung cancer.
George and Ginnie with (l. to r.) daughter-in-law
Lauren and son Jonathan Keith, and Kirsten and
Andrew Keith, Sept. 23, 1995
|May 2007, George with two of his grandsons, Jason|