Keith Edward Justice, 93, formerly of Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin, passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 2, 2019 in Olathe, Kansas. Keith was born July 3, 1925 to Cecil Edward Justice and Leota Mae Knoche.
As a young boy, Keith attended the one-room Oxford Schoolhouse which was originally located at 135th and Mission Road in Leawood, Kansas. There were many stories he would tell of walking many miles to and from that school in three feet of snow, or a monsoon-like rain, and sometimes stopping to shoot a rabbit for supper on the way home.
Keith graduated from Stanley High School in 1943 and enlisted in the Naval Air Force to be a pilot as WWII was in full motion. Keith married Stella Ohmes March 7, 1945. Before he could finish training, the war ended and he was not permitted to be married and be an aviation cadet, so he left with an Honorable Discharge. In 1946, Keith and Stella had a daughter, Claudette. They would eventually divorce in 1952.
In October of 1945, Keith began working for TWA in the downtown airport of Kansas City. He worked as a cargo agent, a lead cargo agent and operations in his career. Keith was eventually stationed at the Philadelphia Airport in Pennsylvania and Chicago, Illinois at O’Hare Airport where he retired after 38 years of service.
Keith met Dorothy “Joan” Justice on her first flight as a hostess for TWA. They married in December of 1952 driving to the little town of Leon, Iowa for the nuptials. They had a son, Edward, and lived in Kansas City. Eventually, Keith and Joan bought their first house in Norwood, Pennsylvania. It was a little, 2 bedroom, red-brick house they paid $12,000 for. In 1961, Kurt was born, and they rejoiced. Their daughter, Leslie, would arrive in 1963. Kurt rejoiced, at least until she could speak.
Keith’s family always had at least one VW bug in the driveway and then there was that Cadillac with the shady past no one spoke of. That Caddy would eventually be used to pull the camper that was used on many family vacations taken all over the country. Spearfish, South Dakota and Stanley, Kansas were two of his favorite destinations.
In 1970, Keith was transferred to O’Hare Airport in Chicago and they bought a house in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Soon after, Keith had the opportunity to go to Jedda, Saudi Arabia for TWA where he stayed for 3 months. After his retirement from TWA in 1983, Keith and Joan moved up north to Hazelhurst, Wisconsin where he would sometimes help out at his son, Kurt’s, bait and tackle shop in Minocqua. Up north, Keith found many kindred spirits in old country western music. He would play with his musician buddies in jams every week and also went to nursing homes to play for residents. Keith could play the guitar, dobro, harmonica, jaw-harp, and even the comb and tissue!
Keith had many interests that kept him busy. He was an avid photographer who created a darkroom to develop his black and white photos. He loved to collect rocks, put them in his rock tumbler and make jewelry or just see how they looked when polished. Keith loved to fish with Kurt, play guitar with Ed, and taught Leslie how to change her oil and tires. He passed on his love of nature and how to care for wildlife. Something Joan and Keith both had a lot of knowledge in. He raised a crow, robin, raccoon and even had a spell with a young black bear - that ended when “someone” called to have it re-located. Keith grew his own grapes to make wine and enjoyed gardening, although the input was usually more than the output. It was the time outdoors he enjoyed most.
If you brought up politics with Keith, you were on your own.
Keith loved to try the new dishes Joan would whip-up with her amazing talent in the kitchen. They were married 65 years when Joan passed on September 8, 2018. Keith was preceded in death by his parents, Cecil Edward Justice and Leota Mae Knoche, his brother Eugene “Jeep” Justice, his sister, Betty Winsten and his daughter, Claudette Smith.
Keith is survived by his 3 children, Edward Justice of Kansas City, KS; Kurt Justice, of Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin; and Leslie McElroy of Gladstone, Missouri. Keith has 8 grandchildren and 8 great-grand children.
Leslie’s children, Vaughn and Remy, remember Grandpa as their biggest fan.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Northwoods Wildlife Center in Minocqua, Wisconsin.
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