Walter Keever, 87, of Smith Center, KS peacefully returned home on May 14, 2022, after a life well lived.
Walt was born on April 4, 1935, to Alfred and Avis (Gilbert) Keever at home on a farm south of Lebanon in Smith county. He was, as he liked to put it, "7 of 10" having 3 older sisters, Arvilla, Leota, and Oleta, and 3 older brothers, Marion, Alvin, and Ora. He was blessed with 3 younger siblings, Rosalee, Iris, and Richard. Walt grew up living farm life, tending animals and helping in the house while his mother suffered ill health, learning all the intricacies of hard work and well-earned reward.
When Walt was three the family moved to a farm north of Thornburg. That is where he learned to ride a horse and started school in a one room schoolhouse at Pleasant Hill School. When Walter was in third grade they moved to Grandma Gilbert's farm southwest of Lebanon where he attended Barnes and Mt. Carmel grade schools. When in the eighth grade he transferred to Lebanon Elementary and moved on to Lebanon High School graduating in 1953.
After graduating from Lebanon High School in 1953, Walt married his high school sweetheart, Vera Mae Stones. To this union 3 sons were born, Alan, John, and Bryce. Sadly, Alan and Bryce did not survive to adulthood, but were never the less a large part of Walt's heart and drive.
Walt worked for Braden's Produce buying farm fresh eggs and cream for 6 years. He then went on to manage Matson Boogaart's for 25 years before becoming the Magistrate Judge of Smith County for 12 years before his retirement in 2001.
During retirement Walt and Vera enjoyed many trips including a fall foliage tour to the northeast united states for their 50th anniversary. They also enjoyed being part of a square dance club and a camper club as long as their health permitted. Most of all Walt enjoyed doing things with and for his family.
Walt was a jack of all trades. If something needed fixed, he was the man who could do it. All he needed was WD-40 or "gray" tape. He was active in the Lion's Club for 55+ years, holding every office at one point or another. He drove the Lion's vision screening bus for a number of years after he retired. He was an elder in the First Christian Church acting in several capacities there. Some of his grandchildren remembered riding in the church bus when Walt was driving. Walt was on the board of High Plains Mental Health in Hays, KS, and Smith County Drug & Alcohol. He was very active in the community and was always available to lend a hand.
Walt was a force of nature, determined to provide for his family and give them the life he felt they deserved. His family meant more to him than anything in the world, and while he had his own way of showing it, he proved it often.
Walt was preceded in death by his sons, Alan and Bryce, sisters, Arvilla, Leota, Oleta, Rosalee and brothers, Marion, Alvin, and Ora, grandson Jeremiah Keever and great granddaughter Braylin Keever.
Walt left behind a sister, Iris, and brother, Richard (Wanda), his wife Vera of 68 years, son John (Barbara), grandchildren, Josh, Elijah, Hannah, Martha, Sarah, and Mariah, 15 great grandchildren, many step grandchildren, and step great grandchildren, and a host of extended family and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, May 19, 2022, at All Faiths Funeral Chapel, 113 S. Madison St., Smith Center, KS, with Elijah Keever officiating. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, from 2:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. with family present to greet family and friends from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the funeral chapel. Burial will take place in Mount Hope Cemetery, Lebanon, KS. Memorials may be given to the Smith Center Lions Club and/or First Christian Church of Smith Center and can sent in care of the funeral chapel.