Laurel H. “Butch” Keister, 75, Columbia City, passed away peacefully at his home at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016. He had been in failing health.
He was born June 27, 1941, in Noble County, a son of the late Herman and Wilma (Smith) Keister. His formative years were spent in Etna-Troy Township, Whitley County. His family then moved to the Wolf Lake area where he graduated from Wolf Lake High School.
In June 1959, he entered the U.S. Army. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant and was honorably discharged on Sept. 1, 1966.
On Nov. 16, 1959, he was united in marriage to Clara L. Bickford. The made their home at Fort Lee, Va. Following his military service, the couple moved to Loon Lake, Whitley County. In 2012, they moved to Columbia City.
He was employed by Dana Corporation, Fort Wayne, and then owned Keister’s Service, Wolf Lake, for 13 years. He completed his work career with the Noble County Sheriff’s Department as a Sergeant Jailer with over 10 years of service.
He enjoyed fishing at area lakes and tinkering with his prized 1950 Ford F1 pickup. He loved joking with his family and friends and playing softball with his children. In his younger years, he enjoyed riding his Harley-Davidson.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years: Clara; two daughters: Lisa (Dale) Gaff, Columbia City; and Victoria Western, Delphos, Ohio; a son: Shane (Deanna) Keister, Huntington; 10 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a sister: Charlene Rodman.
The funeral service will be 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28, at Smith and Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City. Burial will be in the Thorn Cemetery, Ormas, with the Korean War Veterans Honor Guard presenting military honors. Visitation will be 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27, at the funeral home.
Preferred memorials are to Leader Dogs for the Blind or Parkview Home Health and Hospice.