January 19, 1947 - February 16, 2023
While his beginnings were humble, Keith’s ingenuity and entrepreneurial tendencies shone bright from an early age. Growing up in the small rural community of North Branch, Ontario Keith discovered early on that he was more inclined to be solving problems and inventing solutions then he was interested in attending lessons at the one room school house. Keith would block the chimney of the wood stove causing the school to fill with smoke and classes to be cancelled.
Keith’s working career began early with trapping minnows in the summer, fur in the winter and picking pine cones. By the age of 14, Keith was able to buy his first car for $50., a 1947 Chevy.
Keith moved to Atikokan and began his truck driving and equipment operating career with Caland Ore. He continued on with Towland Hewitson working throughout Northwestern Ontario. Settling in Barwick, ON he farmed, logged and began his road building career. He even found time to be Reeve of Barwick for several years.
In 1979 Keith went back into construction full time. He tackled road construction, logging and farm drainage projects. For a change of pace Keith sold Real Estate in Winnipeg for a couple of years. In the early nineties Keith moved to Kenora and started Nor-Quip Construction.
Keith was so proud of the relationships he built throughout the Kenora area and the First Nations Communities he worked with over the years. The knowledge and expertise he brought to the various infrastructure projects gained him the respect and admiration of many in the industry.
It wasn’t all work. Keith had a passion for travel and enjoyed his time in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, British Columbia and even ventured as far as South Korea. He loved to entertain and his favourite times were having family and friends at the house and a good party in the yard. He loved the water and being on the lake even if he couldn’t swim a stroke. Many weekends were spent on the pontoon boat on Lake of the Woods and smaller lakes in the area and before that on his boat Bacardi Party on Rainy Lake.
Keith loved to have a toddy or two and good times were had with his many friends over the years. When the jukebox got cranked up, you would know the air guitar wasn’t far behind.
Wife and partner of 35 years, Betty (Judson) Hele worked and lived life by his side through thick and thin. Betty was the love of his life and true soul mate.
The children, grandchildren and great grandchildren brought joy to his life, a light in his eye and a smile on his face. And maybe a white hair or two.
Charlene Hele (Murray Bell); Jordan Hamilton; Kyla (Hamilton), Mathew and Dawson Morin
Loretta (Hele) Stanish (Brian Stanish); Ashton Romano; Jayden Romano
Colette Hele; Dakota Hunt; Andrew Hele
Troy Judson; Justin Judson, Tanya Gould, Hayden Gould, Jaxen Judson
Jhana (Ball) Lentz (Pat Thompson); Tyera Lentz; Tristen Lentz
He is also survived by Brother in-law Bob Judson and family, Brother in-law Jim Judson (Arlene) and family, Sister in-law Linda Goodman (Stu) and family, Sister in-law Della Elko (Mark) and family, Brother in-law Joe Judson (Gail), Brother in-law Harold Ojier, and numerous cousins.
Keith was predeceased by his parents, Mabel (Bebee) Hele and William Hele, sisters Gwen, Ida and Marlene Hele and Granddaughters Jayde Judson and Shalyn Hele. Mother in-law Marion Judson, Father in-law Linton Judson, Mother in-law Theresa (Ellek) Shannon, Father in-law Harvey Shannon, Brother in-law Tom Judson and wife Wendy, Sister in-law Alice Judson, nieces Susan Elko and Dawn Judson.
A celebration of life will take place in the summer of 2023.