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William A. Keyes Jr.(1927 - 2013)

WILLIAM A. KEYES, JR. Born August 15, 1927 Died on July 22, 2013 Bill was born in Richmond, CA August 15, 1927 to William A Keyes Sr. and Marcia Keyes. There were five children in the family, his Sisters Mary, Marjorie, and Elizabeth, and one brother Ernie. The family moved to Durham, CA in 1930 and then to Cherokee where his Father was a miner during the depression. When the mine closed his Father worked for Al Chaffin in the fruit and drying process until 1936. Then the family moved to Thermalito. Bill went to school at Sierra Avenue and then on to Oroville High School where he graduated in 1945. in September of 1945 he went into the U.S. Army and he worked at Camp Beale through November of that year as an AMP Guard, then he was transferred to Fort Bliss Texas and did a special eight week basic course there. When finished he was sent to Fort Ord where he joined a group of 500 men and was sent to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, from there they boarded on a troop ship the U.S.S. Alexander, a 5000 man ship. They landed three weeks later in Le Harve, France. He worked there as a special M.P. in France and later was loaded up on a 40x8 rail car and then sent to Nuremberg, Germany where he became a guard at a German Prison Camp, he worked for two months and was then sent to Frankfurt, Germany where he worked in the I.G. Farbin Headquarters of General Eisenhower as a special M.P. Guard and receptionist. He was later transferred to Hanow Air Force Base and went on to guard for the 22nd Signal Service Group. Later he was assigned to the PX and finished his military time managing a post exchange at the base. He was honorably discharged from service in 1947, he came back to Oroville and worked for the cannery for one year and then for Bill Turners Tire Service, which was across the street from the Oroville Post Office During this time he met and married the love of his life Barbara in June of 1950. Later he worked for High Sierra Pine Mill in the cut shop plant. He went from a cut off trimmer to the Foreman of the plant and was there for eleven years. He then applied for a job at Huntington's Sportsman Store with Fred Huntington, before the store was moved to the Oro Dam Blvd. address. Bill started work at R.C.B.S. in the die department and then from there worked in the special order department, where he ran that department for 37 years as Shop Foreman and manager. He retired from R.C.B.S. in September of 1994. Bill and Barbara have three grown children, Karl Keyes, Oroville, CA, Kenneth Keyes (wife Pat) Stockton, CA, and daughter Jillene Holmes, Oroville, CA. They have three granddaughters, Toni, Ginny, Dawna and five great grandchildren Cameron, Kassy, Avory, Tyler, and Kaylee all from Stockton CA. Bill was a man who would give the shirt off his back so to speak to numerous charities he thought were worthy through out the years. He was a Benefactor Life Member in the N.R.A. and the Golden Eagles, Life Member in the California Wild Life Association , Life Member in the California Rifle and Pistol Association, Life Member in the North American Hunting Club, Life Member in the North American Fishing Club, Life Member of the N.R.A. Whittington Founders Club, and a member of the American Gunsmithing Association. He was also a Member of V.A. and the Oroville Moose Lodge. Bill and Barbara loved to travel, they went to Alaska, Hawaii, Nashville, Disney World, Florida and the Caribbean. During his working years they traveled to places like New Orleans, Las Vegas, Reno, Washington, Fort Worth, and Houston, Texas for the Shot Shows and the N.R.A. Shows representing the R.C.B.S. Corporation. Bill was well known throughout the world as a custom die maker, he made special order dies for writers and also for shooters like Hank Williams Jr. He was known to make up cartridges for the writer's in their shooting magazines, where he would work weekends to get them ready so they would be able to test the cartridge and the rifle as soon as possible, and then write about it in their next magazine. He was avid re-loader, hunter, and fisherman all of his life. He hunted deer in Lassen County for years, also sage hens, ducks, dove, and quail. In his 80's his favorite thing to do was to pheasant hunt in Richvale with faithful partner, "Duke" his Springer Spaniel. Bill and Barbara were married 63 years this past June. He had a very full life with no regrets! He will be sorely missed by his family, his friends, and his loyal dog Duke. Services are under the direction of Scheer Memorial Chapel with graveside services to be held at Friday, July 26, 2013 in the Veterans Section of Oroville Memorial Park Cemetery, 5646 Lincoln Blvd. A gathering for family and friends will be at the Oroville Moose Lodge on 14th Street at 11:00 a.m. after the service. In lieu of flowers, donations be made in care of Enloe Hospice or to the in his honor.

Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on July 25, 2013
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