Dr. Robert H. “Bob” Keith, 89, of Monroe, died February 12, 2020 at the Monroe Clinic Hospital following a brief illness. Bob was a man of strong faith, a loving husband, and family man. He was a gentle doctor and consummate teacher. He was loved and respected, quiet and considerate, fun, and full of light and positive energy. Bob was born and raised on a dairy farm in Columbia County, Wisconsin, the son of Kenneth and Alma (Fuller) Keith.
Through eighth grade, Bob attended Hill Drop, a one room school outside Dalton, WI. He graduated in 1948 from Portage High School. He was active in 4-H and won the National 4-H Meat Animal Award. After attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison for two and a half years, he served four years in the U.S Air Force. Bob married Careen Forbes November 13, 1954 in Orland, California. He graduated from Iowa State University receiving a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1959.
For thirty-five years Bob served as a veterinarian with the Monroe Veterinary Service, both as partner and president. He was the Monroe City Veterinarian for many years. He was active with the Rock Valley Veterinary Medical Association, Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association, American Veterinary Medical Association AVMA), and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP, President). For many years Bob served on the Ethics Committee for the World Dairy Expo. Bob hosted veterinary students: thirteen were international and hundreds from the U.S.
Bob received the Wisconsin Veterinarian of the Year award in 1983, and in 1989 received the North American AABP Bovine Practitioner of the Year award. In 1992 he was honored with the Stange Award for Meritorious Service in Veterinary Medicine, the highest award presented to distinguished alumni from Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He had the honor to present James Herriot an AABP award in England. After retirement he participated in a State Department program working with farmers in Ukraine and Moldova.
Bob and Careen lived in Monroe 42 years, retired 16 years in Sun City West, Arizona, and moved back to Monroe two years ago to be closer to family. He was a member of the United Methodist Church (Monroe, WI), Shepherd of the Hills Methodist Church (Sun City West, AZ), and in his youth was baptized and confirmed at the North Scott Baptist Church. He was an active member of the Alpine Curling Club (President), Monroe Country Club (President), First National Bank of Monroe (Director), Lions Club, Dance Club, Couple’s Bridge Club, Men’s Club (Sun City West, AZ), various golf clubs, Boy Scouts, and the Girl Scouts (Camp Development Committee).
Dr. Keith is survived by his wife, Careen, and their four children: Aileen (Tom) Reichert of Columbia, MD; David “Thai” Keith of Madison; Linda (Karen McArthur) Keith of South Dartmouth, MA; and Brian (Betsy) Keith of Monroe. Eight grandchildren include Carrie (Daniel) Kosta, Sarah Reichert, Andrew McArthur, Abigail Keith, Spencer Keith, Grant Keith, Mitch Keith, and Grace Keith; and three great-grandchildren, Beatrix, Lucian, and Esme Kosta. He was preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth and Alma Keith, brother Donald Keith, nephew Alan Keith, and grandson, Joshua Reichert.
In honor of Bob’s commitment to agriculture, education, and veterinary medicine, all unspecified memorials will be donated to organizations reflecting these life-long passions.
The March 27th visitation and March 28th memorial service are being postponed until July due to Covid-19 concerns. Updates for the newly scheduled services will appear on newcomerfuneralhome.net when they are finalized.