Birth Date: December 3, 1933
Death Date: April 23, 2016
Keith was born during the Great Depression in 1933. He is the oldest son of Francis and Nellie Austin of Chilhowee, Missouri, near Kansas City. He decided on a military career and joined the Navy after high school in 1952. In 1953, he married the girl next door, Clara Ravenscroft.
Keith gave up the Navy and joined the Air Force, with the promise of more time at home. Keith and Clara have three children, born 1956 to 1969, – Nancy Gemignani (Steven), Janet (Rick Boggs) and Keith Jr. (Angela).
The family moved from base to base throughout the U.S., staying just six months to two years in any one place. Keith also served tours abroad to train U.S. allies in airplane hydraulic systems, including one year of service in Vietnam in 1970. Whenever they were separated, Keith and Clara wrote letters to each other every day.
Keith valued hard work and had three careers: 23 years in the military, retiring as Senior Master Sergeant; 11 years as a federal civilian worker at McClellan; followed by five years in a partnership doing remodeling and woodworking, A&G Cabinet and Remodeling.
Keith valued education, earning his Associate of Arts degree in 1978 walking the graduation stage at the same time as his wife and their daughter, Janet. Nancy graduated from UC, Davis the same week.
Keith valued play and was always quick with a smile and encouragement. He was an avid golfer, enjoyed the outdoors, fishing, and camping. He was a woodworker and a member of the Sacramento Area Woodworkers. Over the years, Keith built thousands of toys for Toys for Tots. Keith and Clara spent several summers as camp hosts at Antelope Lake in the Plumas National Forest.
He shared his values and joys with his children and future generations in his grandchildren, Brittany and Jordan, and great grandchild, Riley.
Keith was a man of God who loved Jesus. He was active in his church, Hillsdale Blvd Baptist Church, as a deacon and gave even more directly by the sweat of his brow to help build the current sanctuary where hundreds will worship for many years.
Keith had long-term health problems capped by a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in 2009. The progression of the disease eventually made him completely dependent on his loving wife of 62 years and left him unable to learn, work, play, or communicate except by facial expressions. He passed away at home on April 23, 2016. He is survived by his immediate family; his siblings – Patsy Miller (Merle) and Jimmie Dale Austin of Missouri; three sisters-in-law, a brother-in-law, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and grandchild, Payton.
Keith will be interred at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, 5810 Midway Road, Dixon, California, on May 27, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. and will receive full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in memory of Keith payable to Hillsdale Blvd. Baptist Church, 6201 Hillsdale Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95842. The funds will be used to renovate what Keith helped to build.