We said goodbye for now to Bob Keyes on November 12, 2022.
Bob was born in September of 1929, a blessing to both Jesse J. and Ella H. (Bond)Keyes and his two older brothers, Richard and Donny. From early on it became readily apparent that Bob was not only handsome but smart too, a dashing combination that earned him the title of Baby King.
A gifted student, Bob skipped the 3rd grade and advanced through grade school at Green Park. At a young age, Bob quickly learned the value of hard work by helping his family at their own Keyes Cafe located in Walla Walla. There he worked both after school and on weekends at the soda fountain, making ice cream which then became his lifetime treat of choice. As a teen, Bob also worked in the hop fields of Moxee, work which allowed him to purchase his first motorcycle at the tender age of 15. He was hooked. Buying, restoring, and selling motorcycles became a lifetime hobby. Bob loved to tell tales of his motorcycle adventures, like riding down the pastoral Dayton roads to visit his “Aunt” Pat on the farm.
After graduating from Walla Walla High school, a year early, Bob started college at WSU on a full scholarship. He left WSU after a year, returning to Walla Walla to get hitched to his high school sweetheart Hazel Steepleton. Bob resumed work in the restaurant business, this time working as a manager for a bustling new cafe in town. Bob had two beautiful daughters with Hazel, Karen and Christie. The family moved to Seattle, and Bob went to work at Boeing. The high school sweethearts eventually went their separate ways.
After they divorced, Bob met and married his second wife Frankie Keyes while working at Boeing. Together they had two wonderful children, their son Mike and their daughter Karla. Along with Frankie’s son from her first marriage, Dave Norman, the now blended family shared many childhood adventures like camping and traveling together.
During this time Bob developed two new unique hobbies: raising and racing pigeons and collecting coins. As an avid coin collector, Bob met many lifelong friends through coin clubs, even acting as the president of the Boeing Coin Club. He shared his passion with his family and friends, gifting them coins as small tokens of his love.
A Jack-of-all-trades, Bob left Boeing briefly to try his hand as a real estate agent. He then returned to Boeing where he worked on many interesting projects including the Moon Buggy. He excelled at mathematics and even taught advanced math courses at both Boeing and Renton Vocational College.
Bob retired from Boeing following 40 dedicated years of work. Bob and Frankie divorced shortly after he retired.
Bob soon met his longtime companion, Margie Roman, and they shared many good times with both their families. They enjoyed road trips to see the PNW and testing their luck at the local casinos. As a self-taught handyman, Bob could do almost anything he put his mind to, extending a helping hand to his beloved children and grandchildren. Throughout his life Bob worked on motorcycles, fixed houses, and tinkered with cars, even building doll houses at the request of his daughters.
Bob’s parents, brothers and daughter Karen passed away before him. He is survived by stepson Dave Norman, daughter Christie (Keyes) McAnnally, son Mike Keyes, daughter Karla Keyes; grandchildren Jeff, Michael, Amy, Ryan, Matthew, Jesse, Rachael, Hannah Lena, Brad and Sarah; along with great- grandchildren and Keyes nieces, nephews and cousins.
Bob was a wonderful father, grandfather, uncle, cousin and great- grandfather to all his family and will be deeply missed. Until we see him again, keep an eye out for a coin in your path as it just might be Bob winking at you from Heaven.
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