Keith Earley

Keith Frank Earley was born on April 18, 1936 in Cedar Rapids, IA. Keith passed away on October 16, 2023, at Sunrise Hill Care Center in Traer with his children by his side. He was the son of William Stevenson “Steve” Earley and Frances Keith Earley.

Keith attended country school and graduated from Traer High School in 1954. Keith then went to Iowa State College and earned a certificate in Farm Operations in 1956.

In 1958, Keith enlisted in the Army National Guard where he served two three-year terms.

On August 7, 1963, he married Lois Christensen and they made their home in rural Traer where they farmed for over 50 years, receiving a Farm Bureau Heritage Farm award in 2023.

Keith had several hobbies. He liked building things, fixing things, and working around the yard. He liked old cars, old tractors, and old guns. But his true passion was farming.

Keith raised corn, soybeans, oats, hay, hogs and cattle on the family farm and was quite progressive in his early years. He had one of the first hog confinement buildings in the area with an automatic feeding system. He also had one of the first computer controlled corn dryers. In 1967, he received the “Young Farmer of the Year” award from the Iowa Jaycees.

Even off the farm, Keith continued to serve the farming community as a board member of Farm Service and the Farmers Elevator, as a member of Farm Bureau and as a Trustee at the Ripley United Church of Christ.

Keith was a kind and gentle husband, father, uncle and neighbor. He took care of Lois for many years when she needed help. He rarely raised his voice to anyone, except maybe the occasional misbehaving pig, and that cow that stepped on his foot. He enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren.

Keith is survived by his two children, Diane (Jon) Panfil and Mark (Suzanne) Earley, both of Traer; four grandchildren: Benjamin Panfil, of Peoria, IL, William (Stacey Lane) Earley and Joseph Earley, of Waterloo, IA, and Lucy Panfil, of Waukee, IA; two sisters Jane Earley, of Mankato, MN and Ann Earley (Bob Siemer), of Chesterfield, MO; one brother-in-law, Dale (Jeannine) Christensen, of Fremont, NE, nieces Andrea (Scott) Wagner, of Fremont, NE and Mandi Christensen, of Fort Lauderdale, FL; and one great-grandson Maverick Earley, of Waterloo, IA.

He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents and his nephew Bryce Christensen.

Memorials may be directed to the family or the Tama County Humane Society.