Keith was born December 14, 1930 and passed peacefully at home on January 2, 2021.
He was born in Bashaw, AB, the second of 12 children, to Phyllis and Ernest DeLeeuw. At age five, he started school in the one room ‘George’ country school where his job along with his six year old sister, was to start the wood cook stove.
He grew up on the farm until age 14, when the family moved to Vermillion where attended grades 9 to 11. The family then moved to Lloydminster and he graduated high school at 17. By age 18, he was looking after oil wells and worked 14 hour days for 365 days straight.
On December 8, 1951, he married Dorothy Greupner. Keith’s parents had to sign the marriage papers for him as he was a week short of the legal age of 21. Over the years, they had five children.
By 1955 he was managing an oilfield company. His first airline flights were to Toronto to purchase trucks which he drove back to Lloydminster for their oilfield business.
In 1956, he stared his own oilfield service with heavy construction equipment and oil tanker hauling.
In 1967, he did the sewer and water project for the village of Marshall.
He sold the company and leased the local Esso and hardware store until 1970. Because he surpassed Esso’s five year expectations, within three years he was offered the opportunity to purchase the larger business of Summerland Esso. He moved his family of seven out to Summerland in the summer of 1970.
He ran and was elected alderman from 1972-77. He was proud to be instrumental in the ARDA and swimming pool (Recreation Centre) projects.
In 1976 he purchased an apple orchard on Washington Avenue where the family resided in a little three bedroom house built in 1903. With the help of Mr. Austin and Yargeau, a new home was built on the orchard.
In 1978, Keith sold the Esso and a year later managed Miller Trucking. He also took on the mechanic position at BC Fruit Packers for ten years until his retirement in 1992.
Well…semi retirement…he bought, renovated, and sold many houses until the year 2000. It wasn’t always about high profits. It was important to him to help people afford a home of their own. He also did maintenance, carpentry, and repairs from 1990 until 2016. People commented how much he helped them and they could always trust him to do the right thing. He only retired because of his failing eyesight.
Keith also contributed many hours on numerous boards – Summerland Hospital, Kiwanis, and the Credit Union.
He felt fortunate to have both his parents live with them from 1993 until 1997. His Dad passed in 1995.
In 1997, he sadly lost his wife Dorothy as she passed suddenly from cancer. He and Dorothy had been married 46 years and has so many memories too numerous to mention. They were able to enjoy some holidays in Hawaii plus a trip that Dorothy won to Europe. Over the years they purchased motorhomes and had many trips to Alaska, the west coast of the US, and across Canada and always back the Prairies to visit numerous friends and family and attending may family reunions.
After Dorothy passed, Keith sold the orchard and purchased a house in Trout Creek, where his mom joined him.
In 1998, he married Sharon Jordan. Her dad Wilf also came to live with them.
In 1999, his mom passed and in 2003, Wilf also passed.
In 2001, he and Sharon moved to a beautiful townhouse community uptown, where they remained. Sharon helped him with the painting and his renovation work for the first ten years. Keith also became a mentor, friend, and business partner to his stepson. Keith and Sharon enjoyed many motorhome trips in BC, Alberta, Ontario, and the States. They also enjoyed trips to Mexico with many of Sharon’s family. Keith took Sharon to Hawaii in 2016. When Keith retired in 2016, he and Sharon then spent many coffee outings with friends. Keith and Sharon had many good times with both their families and made many friends and had a great life in “La Caseta’. Keith was able to pass peacefully at home.
Keith was predeceased by parents Phyllis and Ernest; wife Dorothy; sisters Elizabeth and Margaret; and brother Blaine.
He is survived by second wife Sharon; children Denise, Dwayne, Curt (Melody), Darin (BillieJo), Roger (Darlene); stepchildren Sasha, Darcy (Shaun), Duane (Susan), and Jamie; siblings Joyce, Carol, Robert (Olive), Josephine (Mike), Fred (Trish), Joanne (Barry), Wendy (Les), and Brent (Deb); and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.
“If you have a family that loves you, good friends, food on your table, and a roof over your head, you are rich.”
In lieu of flowers, you can send donations to NeighbourLink Summerland or donate a tree to plant in his name.
Keith – husband, father, stepfather, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, friend
Keith – mentor, farmer, orchardist, businessman, entrepreneur, mechanic, carpenter, renovator, repairman, builder
Keith – alderman, volunteer, board member
Keith – generous, person of integrity, straightforward, helper, giver, fair, problem solver, hardworking, strong, humorous, intelligent, wise.
Condolences may be directed to the family through providencefuneralhomes.com 250-494-7752.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Richard Keith DeLeeuw, please visit our floral store.
PO Box 20031, Summerland BC V0H 1Z0