Keith was born in Polson, Montana, on March 18, 1935, to Rex J. and Myrtle (Herreid) McAlear. While he was the second oldest of four, he was the only boy sharing a household with three sisters. With the onset of WWII, the family moved to Cle Elum, Washington, where he started grade school. Returning to Polson in 1944, Keith continued his education in the Polson School system, graduating in 1953. In high school, he participated in football, basketball and track. He also played percussion in the school band and served as his class president for three years. After graduation, Keith attended Rocky Mountain College in Billings and also served in the Montana National Guard.
During the mid-1950’s, Keith began his lifelong career as a sales rep for the first of a number of companies. One of his favorite companies to have worked for was Monarch Range Company. His time at Monarch Range led him to move to Oregon, and it was there he met and married Hazel Gold on November 29, 1959. While in Oregon, Keith worked for several insurance companies, including Bankers Life and Stockman’s Life Insurance in Portland.
Returning to Polson in 1970 with his family, Keith was able to involve himself in many community activities including the Polson Booster Club, Elks and Jaycees. When not traveling with his job, (and he always prided himself on the number of highway miles he traveled throughout the state of Montana), he enjoyed many of the recreational opportunities that the area offered. He loved boating and fishing, bird hunting, camping and snowmobiling. His favorite pastimes though, were working in the yard, his garden and cooking. His Sunday morning breakfasts were always a hit with relatives and friends. While always attending Polson High School sports, during his later years he enjoyed listening to Pirate games on the radio. Dad was also sure to be found planning his afternoon or evening around a broadcast of a Grizzly football or basketball game. He was interested in history, particularly local Polson history. Any chance conversation at the grocery store or on the street could evolve into Dad recollecting on events from years past.
Keith is survived by his wife of over 57 years, Hazel; son, Doug of Polson and daughter Diane (Mike) of Austin, Texas. Also surviving are his sister Norma McAlear, Hillsboro, Oregon; Eunice Thomas, Alameda,California and Carole (Bill) Lovell, Missoula, Montana, in addition to many cousins, nieces, and nephews who cherished “Uncle Keith”.
The family would especially like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at St. Luke’s Community Hospital for all of the kindness and care that they extended to Keith during these past few weeks. Also, thank you to Dr. Dan Rausch and staff for their care over the years.
As per Dad’s wishes, no services will be held and his cremains will be interred at a later date.