On February 2, 2022, Terry LeRoy Keel, 79, passed away at home after a valiant battle with prostate cancer.
Terry was born on August 29, 1942 in Great Falls, Montana to Leo and Wilhelminia “Billie” (Willems) Keel. Most of his childhood was spent on the family farm in Power, Montana with the exception of about 5 years on a relative’s dairy farm in Downey, California. Terry graduated from Eastern Montana College with a bachelor of science degree in Education in 1964. January 1965, he joined the Navy and served aboard the USS Stoddard DD566 as a yeoman, home ported out of San Diego, California. In September 1966, he received orders to report to USS Preble DLG15 and served as an yeoman for Comdesron 21.
After an honorable discharge in 1968, Terry started teaching science and coaching sports at the middle school in Manhattan, Montana. He met Connie Jo Killham from Helena and they were married on August 8, 1969. He had two daughters with Connie, Miechelle and Kelly. Terry changed occupations and worked road construction starting in 1972. After Connie’s passing, Terry met Kriss Watson of Billings and they were married on February 14, 1977. They had a son together, Rhad. In 1981, Terry and family took over the Keel farm outside of Power, Montana where he farmed for the next 36 years until retirement. Terry and Pam Ames of Columbus, Montana, were married on June 8, 2014.
Terry loved to work on the farm, travel, hunt and build things. Harvesting, calving, and working alongside his children were among his favorite memories. Farm work for him was not work. He traveled and explored most of the states within the US and 40 different countries during his lifetime. Some of his most notable excursions included white water rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, exploring the Pyramids in Egypt, a photo safari in Africa and cruised the Amazon, Yangtze and Danube rivers. He loved to elk hunt with close friends, which was an annual event for some 30 years. Terry enjoyed the challenge of building and repairing things often with friends. He was a leader in his community for many years by serving on the Power School Board, Tri-County Waterboard, Teton County Extension board and others.
Terry wanted to express the following: “I am extremely proud of my three children and their life accomplishments.” “I am grateful for my time with Pam and all that she has done for me. She has extended my life and made it better.”
The family would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all those who came and visited with Terry over the past year. Your thoughtfulness was very meaningful to him and the family.
He is preceded in death by his father, Leo, his mother, Wilhelmina, and his first wife, Connie. He is survived by his brother, George, wife Pam, his children, Miechelle (Paul Fulton), Kelly (David Thompson) and Rhad (Linda McColly), and his 5 grandchildren, Amiya Fulton, Malea Fulton, Rafe Thompson, Cameron Keel and Madison Keel, his aunt, Barbara Keel, and several cousins and many friends.
Private family service at Terry’s request.
In lieu of memorials or flowers, please make donations to the Grace Home Veterans Center in Great Falls, Montana.