Keith L. Deaver

1923 ~ 2023

Obit Photo Keith Deaver

      Captain Keith Deaver, age 100, died on December 23, 2023. Keith was born on July 6, 1923 on his grandfather’s farm in Nebraska in the same house where his mother was born. He was raised in Des Moines, Iowa but from the time he was 12 years old, he would spend two months at his grandfather’s farm in Nebraska each summer. His job there was herding the milk cows along the rural roads for feed, helping with the milking twice a day, and helping with other jobs especially during haying and grain threshing times. He also kept his grandmother supplied with corn cobs for the cook stove.

   During his last two years of high school, Keith worked for Western Union, delivering telegrams on a bicycle, even in the winter, earning 30 cents an hour. Keith was always interested in electrical and mechanical things as well as wood working. As a kid, he fixed bicycles in the neighborhood.

   After graduating from high school in June, 1941, Keith joined the Navy. On December 7, 1941, he was going through aircraft mechanics school in Jacksonville, Florida. Once the US became involved in WWII, he spent a year in the South Pacific on the USS Essex aircraft carrier as a mechanic. His brother-in-law, Karl Kottmeier, was on the same ship.

Obit Photo Keith Deaver USN


   When he returned from the South Pacific and went through Navy flight school, he got his wings and commission, flying the PB4s and other Navy airplanes. When the war was over in 1945, he married Edna who was a Navy WAVE he met while in flight school. She was his Link Trainer instrument instructor. They raised five children and were married almost 64 years when she passed away in 2009.

Obit Photo Keith Deaver Edna


   At the end of the war, Keith went to Parks Air College in East St. Louis, Illinois under the GI bill and was hired by Northwest Airlines in 1948 as an aircraft mechanic. His 35-year career with Northwest started with flying as a flight engineer on the 377 Stratocruiser in 1949. That same year, Keith and Edna moved to Seattle where Northwest Airlines was based. In 1963, Keith went on the pilot’s list, flying copilot on the the 707 series, the 727 and the 747. He upgraded and flew captain on the 707 and 727, and retired as captain on the DC-10 in 1983.

Obit Photo Keith Deaver elder

   Keith died on December 23, 2023, at the age of 100, in the home he built himself. He will be buried at Tahoma National Cemetery in Covington, Washington, alongside his wife. Keith was predeceased by his youngest son, Daniel Deaver, in 1984, his wife, Edna Deaver, in 2009, and a grandson, Kevin Reed, in 2022. He is survived by his son, David Deaver, daughter Diane Cunnington (Dale), and daughters Linda Tew and Carolyn Reed, along with nine grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

   A memorial service was held on Friday, January 12, 2023, at Lake Sawyer Christian Church in Black Diamond, WA.

( ~ Deaver Family)