Robert Keir

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Memorial services for Mr. Robert Keir, 106, of Spencer, will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, July 29, 2011, at Grace United Methodist Church in Spencer. Rev. Paul Hansen will officiate the service.

Visitation will be prior to the service at the church.

Burial will take place at Riverside Cemetery in Spencer.

Mr. Keir passed away Saturday, July 9, 2011, at Longhouse Residence in Spencer.

Robert MacArthur Keir, son of Roy Keir and Zada Corsaut, was born June 6, 1905, near Nemaha, Ia. Bob attended North School in Spencer through fifth grade. When his family returned to Sac County in 1917 he attended a rural school through eighth grade. Following graduation from Sac City High School in 1923, he went on to study Animal Husbandry at Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in Ames, graduating in 1927. Upon graduation, he returned to farm with his father in Sac County. In 1933, he began farming in Riverton Township in Clay County.

On Feb. 6, 1935, Bob married Lana Grace Peeso, daughter of Louis B. Peeso and Flora Webb of Spencer. (Lana's grandfather, Melvin Peeso, was the first white man to build a general store.) Bob and Lana were parents to three sons: Richard Erle, twins, Kendall Webb and Wendell Louis, and a daughter Heidi. After the death of his wife Lana in 1960, he married Eileen Genevieve Claer, daughter of Patrick (P.J.) Claer and Mary Ellen Dailey, in 1962.

In 1941, Bob became an active member of the Republican Party, at which time he was elected to the Iowa State Senate as the first Clay County person elected to represent northwest Iowa in the Senate. He served two terms from 1941 to 1949. While in the Senate he was chair of the Appropriations Committee for two years. Following his tenure in the Senate, he served on the Iowa Highway Commission from 1949 through 1955, and later a second term from 1961-1963. He was also Director of Iowa Good Roads Association Inc. from 1963-1982. During this time he continued to farm southwest of Spencer.

Bob actively participated in his Spencer community. He was involved in the Clay County Fair from 1933 with yearly attendance through 2010.

He was president of the Clay County Fair from 1957-1966. He was the president of Clay County Farm Bureau from 1937-1939 and President of the Clay County Boy Scouts from 1942-1950. Bob served on the Clay County Board of Supervisors from 1963-1964 and 1973-1974. He was

Clay County Clerk of Court from 1965-1973. He joined Golden Kiwanis in 1978, was president of the organization in 1985-1986, and attended the weekly meetings until recently. He was also very active in the 4-H clubs of Riverton Township for many years. As a life long member of the Grace United Methodist Church, he taught Adult Sunday School and served on numerous church committees for over 60 years.

Bob Keir had a comprehensive sense of history of Spencer, Clay County, and the state of Iowa. He was directly involved in relevant policies from 1940 to 1974. Bob had the ability to identify the core issues in problems and was most willing to share his insights with humor and understanding to those who were interested. He was always eager to engage in conversations and lively discussions. He could easily recall his early childhood experiences and all those throughout his life. Bob's heart was attached to his farm, but he could be called a "Renaissance man" as he had many interests ranging from religion to agriculture to politics to highways to law and to fishing.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Lana in 1960; his second wife, Eileen in 1995; his son, Kendall in 2006; and his sister, Hazelle Schmuecker in 2007.

He is survived by his children: Richard (Grace) Keir of Mankato, Minn., Wendell (Sherran) Keir of Spencer, and Heidi (Ernie) Galer of Iowa City; his five grandchildren: Jason Keir, Natasha (Tom) Houselog, Kate Hawkins, Kara (Brent) Kimm, and Nathan (Sarah) Galer; and by his seven great-grandchildren: Izabel and Ben Houselog, Morgan Hawkins, TJ and Shelby Kimm, and Dominik and Kai Galer.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Golden K. Kiwanis, Longhouse Residence, Grace United Methodist Church, or Parker Historical Museum.

Warner Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.