Obituary of Russell Laurence Keeton
Russell L. Keeton (1938-2019)
With great sadness, we say goodbye to Russell Laurence Keeton--a wonderful father and devoted husband. He leaves behind his wife of 60 years Christine, his son Scott, and his daughter Lisa. He was also a very proud grandfather to Hannah, Claire, Kyle, and Ella.
He was born in San Jose, California and much of his childhood was spent moving around California. He had four loving sisters: Ruby, LaRita, and Eileen (deceased) and is survived by Bettie. He was a smart and curious person and knew that he wanted more in life than he saw right in front of him. He read the Encyclopedia Britannia in its entirety during middle school. Two of his favorite memories of childhood were taking the streetcar into Pasedena to watch movies, often staying for the double feature (he has always loved movies), and basketball—playing it and later following college basketball.
After he finished high school, he went off to Cal Berkeley, and married my mom, whom he had known many years already. He knew she was a wonderful woman, and made her his wife. He adored our mother, who he said “is the best person that I have ever met.”
After marrying and working for some years, he and our mom started chasing a dream. And a life full of adventure. Our dad wanted to see the world. He drove their little Triumph TR4 cross-country to apply to jobs in Washington, DC. When he was accepted into the Foreign Service (US Department of State), he felt as though he had found his life’s work and destiny. For the next several decades, we travelled the globe, adventuring in Germany, Honduras, Columbia, Mexico, Kenya, Canada, Spain, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and the USA. He literally gave us and showed us the world. Along the way, we saw many interesting places, and met many interesting people. In the hospital one night, when asked if he would do anything differently, the only thing he could come up with was not joining the Foreign Service sooner. He lived a life without regret.
Our father was among the most curious, smartest and well read people we have ever met. Despite his tough exterior and imposing physical stature, he was an incredibly loving, demonstrative, and warm father. And we were lucky to call him dad. He never had a father, and one of the things he was most proud of was being a good one to us.
In the last few years, he had been sick on a few different occasions, but he was determined to not let that slow him down or interrupt his good life. We were lucky to be together a few weekends ago as we celebrated some birthdays, danced in our kitchen to music we all liked, and went to a college basketball game--a tradition of ours and a shared passion. One of his other loves was music and it was always playing in our childhood homes, on vacations, and there are many songs and artists that will forever help us remember him.
Our father literally gave us and showed us the world. The last two weeks in the hospital were a blessing in a sense, and although we had to say goodbye several times, we also had time to tell him what was in our hearts, and he was able to share things with us that he wanted us to know. When we assured him that we would take care of mom, he said, “I know you will.”
Our father lived life on his terms, he died a very happy man, and he passed peacefully in his sleep at his house the morning of February 14, 2019—Valentine’s Day.
A small family gathering will be held at their home on March 9th, and a celebration of his life will take place at Bethany Beach, Delaware this summer….
Life is short, but sweet for certain….
- Scott Russell Keeton and Lisa Christine Nobles