Ed Keil, age 89, passed away of natural causes in Billings, Montana on May 31, 2020. Edgar Reinhardt Keil was born in Conrad, Montana on February 25, 1931, the oldest son of John and Norma (Elliot) Keil.
Edgar grew up on his family’s farm east of Ledger and rode his horse to attend the nearby one-room country school. He graduated from Conrad High School in 1949 where he played football and basketball.
Ed attended Montana State University playing football and wrestling as well as becoming a lifelong member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. In 1953, Ed left college in order to become a partner with his father in the family farm. Throughout his life, Ed remained an avid Conrad Cowboy and MSU Bobcat fan.
Ed married Barbara Jenkins in 1953 and together they raised their three children, Gail, Nancy and Jeff on the family farm. It was important to him to instill a good work ethic and love of sports and animals in his children. Many wonderful family memories were made on the farm, at Lake Blaine in the summer and a ski hill at Christmas.
Edgar was a member and Deacon of the First Presbyterian Church of Conrad and was a 50-year, 32 Degree Mason. He was a 40-year member of Montana Farmers Union and Director of the Ledger Farmers Union Elevator. He was President of the Young Democrats of Montana and remained active in politics for many years. Ed was a charter member and Director of the Montana Grain Growers Association and served on the Montana Wheat Commission. He was heavily involved and played a leadership role in numerous producer and agriculture related organizations over the course of his life. Ed was proud of the role that he played in promoting Montana agriculture throughout US and the world.
Later in life, Ed married Karen Fisher. They spent many blissful years together on the farm and enjoying the winters spent at their property in Indio where Ed golfed and met for coffee with his many snowbird friends. In 2016, they moved to the Kalispell area with their beloved pets.
Ed is survived by his wife, Karen of Kalispell, his three children, Gail Keil Carter, Nancy (Walt) Backer and Jeff (Kim) Keil in addition to his grandchildren, Kellan, Quincy, and Colton Carter, Keil (Katie), Kason, and Konnor Backer, Rachel (Ian) Letsinger and Robert Keil and one great-grandchild, Jarica. He is also survived by his brother Steve (Linda) Keil and his stepchildren Kim (Ray) Bouma, Jim (Johan) Fisher and Jed Fisher, and Nate and Kristen Messer from a previous marriage. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Dan Keil.
Ed loved people and was known for his kindness and respect to all who crossed his path.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a memorial service has not yet been scheduled.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in memory of Ed Keil to Montana State University Alumni Foundation, Dan Keil Innovation and Crop Science Scholarship, PO Box 172750, Bozeman, MT 59715 or to First Presbyterian Church of Conrad, 123 4th Ave SW, Conrad, MT 59425.