Keith Self, 83, a loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend, passed away peacefully on September 14, 2013 with his family at his side.
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Keith was born May 7, 1930 in La Mesa, California to James M. and Annie J. C. (Macquarie) Self. Keith lived in southern California most of his life.
As a young boy, Keith was very active in sports at school, where he lettered in football, basketball, softball and tennis - the only student ever at his school to earn a tennis letter. At age 15, he won his first tennis tournament title, swatting himself into first place in both singles and doubles play at the La Jolla Open. In his senior year of high school, he won the All Southern California Interscholastic Federation tennis singles championship in straight sets defeating the number 4 singles player in the country.
Upon graduating from Grossmont Union High School in 1948, Keith was selected to play on a ranking tour of the national circuit that summer, which garnered him a scholarship to attend, and play tennis for, UCLA. There he earned his Bachelor's degree in Physical Education.
In both his junior and senior year, he won the Orville Scholtz Memorial Award for tennis sportsmanship. In 1952, his senior year, Keith was voted captain of the team, leading UCLA to win the NCAA championship that year, and resulting in the team being voted All-American. Winning the NCAA championship that year made it only the second national title of any kind that UCLA had ever won.
At UCLA, he also met the love of his life, Margaret Louise ("Margie Lou") McAllister. Margie Lou and Keith were married on March 4, 1955 in San Pedro, California. They lived for a brief time in Tacoma, Washington while Keith was a Lieutenant in the Army. That same year, while serving in the Army, Keith continued his winning ways by taking the All-Army Tennis Championship Doubles Title. Ultimately, though, the young couple moved back to San Pedro to settle down and start a family.
Keith worked as a junior high and high school P.E. teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District for over 35 years, also teaching typing. In addition, he coached basketball and tennis teams. He earned his Master's Degree in Kinesiology from California State University Long Beach in 1969.
Keith was a very active and faithful member of the First United Methodist Church in San Pedro for many decades, serving in various capacities from usher to member of the Board of Trustees. One of Keith's most prized summer jobs as a young father was working as director of a local beach club. Its idyllic shorefront location allowed Keith to invite friends and family alike to share in many wonderful times. He took great pride and joy in vacations with his family, especially enjoying camping trips in their tent trailer, stays in the family mountain cabin and annual road trips across the United States.
More recently, Keith and Margie Lou enjoyed numerous educational trips throughout the U.S. sponsored by Elderhostel and by the American Lighthouse Society. Keith loved playing tennis with his friends at Peck Park in San Pedro. He also often took long walks by the ocean daily with Margie Lou. Keith was an enthusiastic participant in many annual fundraising walks as well (Hunger Walk, March of Dimes, Alzheimer's Assoc.) and delivered Meals on Wheels. Those who knew him in San Pedro will remember his ready smile, groan-worthy puns, kind heart, patience, honesty, reliability and unfailing ability to put the needs of others before his own.
Keith (and Margie Lou) moved to Colorado Springs in 2002 to be closer to their daughter and her family. He adored being a grandfather and was deeply loved by his grandchildren. His favorite activities included challenging their wit with different plays on words and engaging in games and sports with them. While in Colorado Springs, Keith was an active member of East United Methodist Church. He loved playing tennis with his friends at Memorial Park as well as bowling in several leagues and playing croquet with friends in his backyard.
Keith was preceded in death by his parents and his one sibling, Joan (Self) Bearss as well as by his wife of 54 years, Margie Lou.
He is survived by his three children, Megan (Hal) Render, Brian (Kim Asner-) Self, and Kevan Self; two grandsons, Owen Render and Dylan Self; one granddaughter, Adrian Self; one nephew, John (Betty) Bearss; one niece, Barbara (Randy) Palmer; three great nephews, Daniel Bearss, David Bearss, and Jon Palmer; and one great niece, Shannon Palmer.
Services will be held at 10:00a.m. Saturday, September 21 at East United Methodist Church, 1505 E. Monument Street. Afterwards, guests are invited to attend a luncheon in the church narthex. Public interment will follow at Evergreen Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to a fund in Keith's honor that provides tennis lessons at Memorial Park for children who are not able to afford them. The fund also defrays costs for youth showing promise in tennis. Make checks payable to: The Keith Self Memorial Tennis Fund and mail to: Wells Fargo Bank, P.O. Box 3488, Portland, OR 97208-3488. Donations can also be made in person at any Wells Fargo bank in the U.S.A. All funds will support youth tennis in Colorado Springs.
Published in The Gazette from Sept. 19 to Sept. 20, 2013