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Robert Walker Keyes

July 30, 1923 October 24, 2012
Robert Walker Keyes
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Obituary for Robert Walker Keyes

DR. ROBERT WALKER KEYES was born to Joseph and Grace (Ashton) Keyes on July 30, 1923 in Pipestone, Minnesota where he was raised and received his education. He graduated from Pipestone High School in 1941 as the Class Valedictorian. He continued his education at Carlton College in Northfield, Minnesota. After completing his degree in premed, he entered the University of Minnesota and completed his degree as a doctor of Medicine. He then moved to Chicago, Illinois and served his internship at the Cook County Hospital. On January 1, 1949, he was united in marriage to Rita von Gnechten in Delavan, Wisconsin. Following their marriage, they lived in San Francisco, California where Dr. Keyes served in the United States Air Force at the VA Hospital there. When he was discharged from the service, they moved to Ely, Minnesota for a short time. In 1953, they settled in Pipestone, Minnesota where Dr. Keyes served this community as a physician. After his retirement in 1994, he became a dedicated husband and caregiver to his wife Rita who suffered a stroke on the week he retired. She preceded him in death on January 19, 2011. After her death, he continued to reside at his home in Pipestone with his son Jim who provided care and companionship. On Wednesday evening, October 24, 2012, surrounded by several of his children and under hospice care, he died peacefully at his home at the age of 89 years, two months and 24 days.

Dr. Keyes served Pipestone County for many years as the County Medical Examiner. In raising ten children, he was always concerned with the education system in Pipestone. Because of this, he served on the school board for over a decade. He was a voracious reader, a great gardener, and he could often be seen enjoying his daily walk. Exercise was important to him and, even in his weakened physical state this past week, he was still trying to get in his walk.

He is lovingly remembered by his ten children, Mary Keyes Kapur of India, Nancy Keyes and Baron Miller of San Francisco, California, Carolyn Alfus and her husband Dan of Renton, Washington, Joe Keyes of Los Angeles, California, Jim Keyes of Pipestone, Minnesota, Ali Keyes and Joe Simoson of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Marj Keyes of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bob Keyes of Springfield, Missouri, Alec Keyes of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Marty Keyes of Minneapolis, Minnesota; seven grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Rita; and his two brothers, Joseph “Phil” Keyes and Alec Keyes.

The family thanks Bobbi Kruger and Marian Matthiesen for their friendship and care. Jill Johnson, RN-Hospice, brought joy and compassion to Dad. Dad looked forward to their fun and lively conversations. Thanks also to Linda Brockberg, LPN, for her care of Dad.

We are grateful to MaryAnn Yseth,for her vibrant energy and optimism and her special lifelong friendship to both Mom and Dad.

We are so blessed to have had Father Marty in Dad’s life. The spiritual guidance and love that they shared was extraordinary. Father Marty brought a special comfort to Dad, especially in the last days of his life.

The care shown to all of us from the Pipestone County Hospital, Ambulance and Hospice Program will forever be part of our memories. Thank you.

Previous Events

Memorial Service




1:00 PM 10/29/2012 1:00:00 PM
Hartquist Funeral Home - Pipestone Chapel

710 SE 4th St.
PO Box 351
Pipestone, MN 56164

Hartquist Funeral Home - Pipestone Chapel
710 SE 4th St. Pipestone 56164 MN
United States

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