Clyde R. Keithly was born at the home of his parents, Samuel and Emma Keithly, in the tiny town of Midvale, Idaho on August 20, 1916. Clyde passed away in Nampa on Nov. 8, 2008, following a long and strong struggle with emphysema.
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Clyde's parents traveled to Idaho by covered wagon to farm the deep soil of a remote river valley. Clyde learned farming as a young man and excelled as a gardener for a lifetime of gardens which were often a half acre in size. His gardens fed his family, his extended family, friends and neighbors.
During the Great Depression Clyde put himself through college at the University of Idaho. He met Lillian Larson from Sandpoint at the University. Clyde taught school at Troy for two years after he graduated from college. He and Lillian were married in 1941, only months before Clyde was drafted. Until his discharge in 1945 his life was the U.S. Army where he rose to the rank of Major. He shipped out to Europe not long after D-Day and saw combat in France and Germany with the Third Army of General George Patton, his hero. Clyde's war experiences probably included the highest and lowest time of a long and event-filled life.
Clyde went to work with his brother-in-law John Brandt as an independent insurance agent in Nampa following the end of the war. He loved the city of Nampa and served its citizens through participation in numerous organizations including the Chamber of Commerce, The Jaycees, The Exchange Club, The Nampa Senior High PTA and The Nampa United Fund. He served as President or Chairman of all of these organizations. He also was District Commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America. For his extensive service to the community, he was named "Man of the Year" by The Nampa Jaycees. The culmination of Clyde's service to Nampa was to represent its citizens as a three-term State Legislator from 1967 to 1973.
A highlight of Clyde's life was his return to farming when he homesteaded a 600-acre farm cut out of the sagebrush near Glenns Ferry. Clyde and Lil mortgaged everything they had to bring water from the Snake River to the virgin soil above the river. The farm produced record yields of Idaho spuds when it first went into production.
Clyde's success as a potato farmer allowed him and his wife Lil to travel the world following his retirement from the insurance business in 1975. They visited the battlefields of W.W. II in Europe; they caught marlin off the coast of Australia; they visited Lil's relatives in Norway; they took a freighter to South Africa; they enjoyed many winters in the southwest United States via motor home and later in a retirement park in Hemet, Calif.
Above all else Clyde treasured and found pride in his family. He is survived by Lillian, his wife of 66 years, and their four children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In birth order the children are: Bruce (wife Barbara and sons James and Jeffrey); Russell (wife Gretchen and daughters Heather and Kelsey, sons Todd and Scott); Carolyn (husband George Fancher and son Michael and daughter Kelly); Sandra (husband Rick Michael and son Sam and daughter Christina). He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews with special affection for Uncle Clyde and Aunt Lil.
Clyde was a father, grandfather, farmer, fisherman, hunter, traveler, warrior, uncle, friend, neighbor and indeed one of "THE GREATEST GENERATION." May he rest in peace.
A celebration of Clyde Keithly's life will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008 at Alsip & Persons Funeral Chapel, 404 10th Ave. South, Nampa. Burial with military honors will follow at Kohlerlawn Cemetery.
Contributions in memory of Clyde to: Clyde and Lillian Larson Keithly Education Scholarship, University of Idaho, PO Box 443143, Moscow, ID 83844-3143 or The Nampa Salvation Army, 403 12th Ave. South, Nampa, ID 83651.
Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Nov. 10, 2008