Cheney Free Press -

Keith Tracy


Last updated 4/18/2019 at 5:07pm

Keith Tracy

Keith Tracy died on April 8, 2019 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Keith was born in Sumpter, Oregon on Aug. 30, 1922 to Chester and Hazel (Howard) Tracy, the youngest of three children.

After spending his boyhood in St. Maries, Idaho, Keith joined the Navy in 1942. He served for four years during WWII and thankfully saw no action. Upon discharge he attended and graduated from the University of Washington on the G.I. bill. While there he met Joan Fries, who was the love of his life. They would have been married 70 years on the day Keith died. Joan died just a month earlier.

Keith's first high school teaching job was in Reed Point, Mont. After several years he taught in Castle Rock, Washington and then was a high school English teacher in Forest Grove, Oregon for eight years. While teaching and helping to raise three daughters, Keith earned a master's degree at Reed College in Portland. 

In 1964 the family moved to Cheney, Washington when Keith became an assistant professor of English at Eastern Washington University. He retired in 1987.

Keith was interested in social justice and practiced it. During WWII he befriended an African-American sailor and was berated for doing so. With his signature crew cut and wearing his trademark bow tie, he took his family to the first anti-Vietnam march in Spokane. Keith looked out for those who lacked advantages, including some of his students at Eastern. He also fully supported his wife Joan and his three daughters in their educational and career pursuits, and well before it was as common for men to do so.  Keith was a man ahead of his times. He enjoyed gardening at his home in Cheney where he lived for over 50 years. Even though he visited many places during his life, he appreciated the simple pleasures nearby.

Keith is survived by his daughters Megan (John) Bastow of Spokane, Jean Tracy of Gundelfingen, Germany and Ann Johnston of Coeur d'Alene; seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. As well as his wife, Joan, Keith is preceded in death by his sister Elizabeth "Betty" Bodey, brother Jack Tracy, and son-law-law Phillip Johnston.

A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Suggested donations in Keith's memory are: the American Civil Liberties Union or Kids in Need of Desks (K.I.N.D., through UNICEF).


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