Leaving a legacy of love, humor, and integrity to those who knew him, Keith Wayne Wallace passed away in the early hours of October 27 with his loving wife, Lani, by his side.
The oldest of John & Hazel Wallace’s three children, Keith was born in Little Rock, Arkansas in March 1943. After his father, a World War II veteran, was discharged they moved to Boise, Idaho.
His family was very active in Boy Scouts where he and his brother both earned their Eagle Scout awards under the watchful eye of their Scoutmaster father. Keith was always very fond of his scouting days, especially the summer he spent as the waterfront director of a scout camp, and his time as an Explorer Scout. In school, Keith enjoyed the studies and extracurricular activities, especially playing trumpet in the band and speech club.
After graduating from Borah High School, Keith went to Boise Junior College followed by Eastern Montana College (now MSU-Billings). While attending college he lived at the Settergren Funeral Home and often joked about the benefits of having quick access to their nice cars and fresh flowers for his dates.
He met his “favorite” (and only) wife at a dance club in Billings. They wed in 1968, celebrating their golden anniversary this year, and as Keith would remind couples “the first 50 years are the hardest.”
He also worked at Holliday Furniture Store, managed the War Bonnet Inn, did taxes for H&R Block, and was a disk jockey for KOOK radio with Major Dan Miller. Though his college degree was in sociology, most of his career was spent in accounting and business administration holding positions at the Cenex Refinery in Laurel, Builders Mart, Plaza West Dental Group, and the Red Lodge Clinic. Eventually his love for people brought him into the teaching profession. After teaching classes at Billings Business College and School District 2’s Career Center, he became the accounting and business teacher at Billings Central High School.
In 1999, the day after Lani retired from teaching for 30 years, the couple started as inspectors for Kampgrounds of America. This eight-year endeavor brought them to over 300 KOAs across the US & Canada.
Keith had a great sense of patriotism, largely stemming from his 30 years of service in the United States Army Reserve. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, but he continued his civic duties taking leadership roles in Rotary, Kiwanis, the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), the Reserve Officer’s Association, the Al Bedoo Shrine, and the Adult Resource Alliance.
Keith also had great passion for travel. Through careful planning, detailed spreadsheets, and a strict adherence to departing promptly at 0600, he led his family through adventures in all 50 states and Canada, culminating with an Alaskan cruise in 2006. While every trip was special, he had exceptional fondness for his travels to Hawaii, Branson, and pilgrimage to Italy.
Most important of all to Keith was his family, who continue to live his legacy. He is survived by his wife of 50 years Roselane “Lani,” his daughter Nicole (Steve) Geiger, his son Wayne (Holly) Wallace, 6 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents but is survived by his siblings Rev. Dr. John (Liz) Wallace and Linda (Jim) Cafferty.
Keith’s life will be celebrated at a vigil, November 1 at 7:00 PM at the Cremation and Funeral Gallery, and his funeral, November 2 at 11:00 AM at St Pius X Catholic Church, followed by a luncheon and burial at the Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel. In lieu of flowers, please give to a charity of your choice or consider the St Pius X Knights of Columbus Council 9976 who will use the funds to support the Diocesan Deaconate program (mail checks to 717 18th Street West, 59102 with “Wallace Memorial Fund” in the memo field).