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The next time you cast your fishing line on a quiet day or wrestle the biggest fish ever, remember Keith Barnes who passed away on Monday, September 30, 2013.
Keith loved to fish and he loved life, but not nearly as much as he loved his friends and family. He told us he fell quickly when he met Karen Vahl in 1963. They married on June, 28 1964, and loved each other for 49 years. He often called her the "catch of his life". Keith and Karen raised two sons together, David (Kara) and Andrew (Dawn). To them, he passed on his sharp business mind, steadfast integrity and the importance of being kind to everyone. Keith's kind and generous spirit lives on in the seven grandchildren he adored. Kate (18), Sam (16), Patrick (15), Shea (15), Madeline (12), Anna, (12) and Lily (9) will miss their grandpa very much. Through a fishing pole, he showed them what it meant to live a fulfilling life: Be patient, hold close the things in life that are most dear, and release the rest.
Born in Grinnell, IA, on July 11, 1940, to June and Arlo Barnes, Keith was raised in the small community of Malcolm, IA. His younger sister, Joye (Sandy) Outlar, remembers Keith as a boy who had a penchant for fishing, helping his little sister and strategizing at the neighborhood "marble ring" located in their front yard. Keith loved to learn, so he left Malcolm for Parsons College in southeastern Iowa. With a heart for adventure, he set his sights on Syracuse University where, in 1963, he earned an MBA in Business. Shortly after, Keith joined the Coast Guard Reserves, where he had the privilege to stand in JFK's Honor Guard.
His professional life took Keith and his family back to Grinnell, next to Fort Dodge, IA, followed by Albert Lea, MN, and finally Ames, IA. In these places, Keith and Karen met life-long friends. He spent the majority of his career in the food industry where he held several executive positions before retiring in 2003 as President and CEO of Proliant Inc., located in Ames. Many of Keith's colleagues visited him last week and we learned the values Keith held with his friends and family, he also demonstrated in business.
Keith gave of his time, talents and resources freely and poured himself into all endeavors. He was very active in United Way, the Ames, IA Planning and Zoning Commission and the Ames Angler's Fishing Club. He sat on the Board of Directors for The Iowa State Research Park, United Way and the East Pointe Association in East Gull Lake, MN.
Please help us celebrate the life of Keith Barnes, a husband, father, grandpa, brother, uncle, friend and fisherman. Visitation is Thursday, October 3, 3-6pm, at Grandon Funeral and Cremation Care, 414 Lincoln Way, Ames, IA. Funeral services will be Friday, October 4, 11am, at First United Methodist Church, 516 Kellogg Avenue, Ames, IA. There will be a lunch immediately following. Memorials may be directed to First United Methodist Church Building Fund.
Grandon Funeral and Cremation Care
414 Lincoln Way Ames, IA 50010
Published in Des Moines Register on Oct. 3, 2013