A genuine soul, a compassionate person, and always one with something to say in any situation, Dick leaves behind many loved ones and friends. We will miss the place he held in our lives, and we will never forget him.
Dick's life began during the 1950's decade which was a time of confidence for Americans. It is often called the "Baby Boomer" era, for people were relieved to leave behind WWII and the Great Depression and were ready to start families, earn a good living, and live a normal life. It was also a time when the economy was consumer-led, and spending was high because people had jobs to earn money. Even teenagers made a bit of a place in society because rock-n-roll was a tremendous influence on pop culture, and teens ruled in that respect.
The year 1952, in particular, made a place for itself in the history books. The theme of consumerism continued; American homes enjoyed many modern ways of life: 1 in 3 homes owned at least one television, 2 in 3 households had a telephone, and 3 in 5 homes owned at least one automobile. Mr. Potato Head was one of the first toy commercials to appear on television and was created during this year to encourage children to eat their vegetables! Also popular on the screen was the "Today Show," which made its debut during this year. As if all that was not enough, a person could enjoy crispy and delicious fried chicken at the new Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise for the first time in life.
Closer to home, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Charles & Betty (Rutgers) Keith were expecting a precious baby. On February 17, 1952, they welcomed their sweet son, Richard.
His family also consisted of two siblings: Nancy and John. The three children kept their parents on their toes, filling their Plainwell home with activity and life. Their parents worked hard to provide a comfortable and happy childhood. Dad worked at the papermill, and Mom stayed home to keep the home organized and content.
Dick, as everyone knew Richard, spent his entire life in Plainwell, Michigan. He loved to tinker with cars in this quaint town, talk with friends, and even developed his knack for altruism.
His tinkering became a lifelong prospect, especially as he became more knowledgeable as a teenager. Dick could attest to a car's smooth operating engine and took his chances to put the pedal to the metal once in a while. He was no stranger to the challenge of a street race, nor the friendly reminder from a police officer to slow it down with the gift of more than one ticket in his lifetime.
In love, Dick also took the fast road. He met his high school sweetheart, Sandy, early on. The two married out of high school in 1973. Before long, the couple welcomed their daughter, Jackie.
To support his young family, Dick worked at Art Post Fiat in Kalamazoo and later Dorr GMC. He also opened Plainwell Auto Repair, which later became Economy Auto Repair, where he worked hard to grow the business. In over 20 years of operation, he earned a reputation for a job well done at a fair price.
Adult life created different paths for Dick and Sandy, and after 25 years of marriage, they divorced. Dick was lucky to find Julie, who captivated his heart as he journeyed into a different phase of his life. Together, they enjoyed camping and spending time with friends and family.
Dick always had a compassionate heart. He was regularly willing to help a person in need. His desire to help was even true in business. He gave many discounts to people having difficulty paying for his services. His passion was figuring out how to fix things. This was primarily true for car repairs, but it also applied to people down on their financial luck.
When he wasn't working in the shop, Dick had many other interests. he loved the outdoors. Hunting and fishing were two of his favorite hobbies.
His desire to take care of people consumed much of his time and energy. His Uncle Les and Aunt Lois could always count on Dick to help when needed.
The affection of grandchildren blessed Dick's life; Preston, Quinton, and Carson provided Dick the opportunity to find great pride. He dearly loved each of them and never missed the chance to talk about them. In fact, he was a friendly person who liked to talk to just about any friend or customer he met.
For Dick, the small things in life were meaningful - not money or expensive things. Sometimes, he would show his thoughtfulness at garage sales, picking up "gifts" for loved ones or grabbing a bit of food to share with a friend. Bonus: if any of this involved peanut butter - all the better! He LOVED peanut butter and would put it on things one might not even believe!
In his 69 years of life, Dick worked hard to let people know he cared. Sadly, he passed away suddenly on March 17, 2021. We can hold close to the memories we shared with Dick, and we can reflect on his kindness while passing it along in this world. In this, we will keep his spirit alive in our hearts.
Dick Keith, of Plainwell, was born February 17, 1952, to Charles & Betty (Rutgers) Keith. He passed away suddenly on March 17, 2021.
Visit with family and friends on Tuesday, March 23, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the McCowen & Secord Funeral Home – Marshall Gren Chapel: 120 S. Woodhams St. in Plainwell. A Graveside Service will follow at Hillside Cemetery in Gun Plain Township. Due to Covid 19, please wear your mask and practice social distancing.
Dick is survived by his daughter Jackie (Brent) Peters; grandchildren: Preston, Quinton, Carson; his siblings Nancy (Don) Colegrove and John Keith and several nieces and nephews. Dick was preceded by his parents and his wife Julie.
For a memorial donation, you can share a random act of kindness or donate to the charity of your choice. Due to Covid 19 please wear your mask and practice social distance.