Gilbert (Gib) Keith selected Grand Marshal for St. Patrick's Day Parade
The 37th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Council #1110 of St. Munchin Parish in Cameron, will be held Friday, March 17 beginning at the traditional time of 4:03p.m.
The Knights chose Gib Keith as this year's Grand Marshall for the 2017 parade.
Keith was born in Trenton, Missouri in 1923. He graduated Trenton High School in 1941, and enlisted into the U.S. Army Air Corp two years later.
Keith was temporarily assigned to infantry radar school, and after training, made the rank of staff sergeant. After some time, Keith was assigned to the Pacific Theater and was stationed on Guam with the 330th Bomb Group, serving as an Aerial Observer on B-17s, B-24s, and B-29s.
As his unit traveled to Guam, they passed through Pearl Harbor. Keith remembers the USS Arizona still burning, three years after the Japanese struck.
Shortly after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs were dropped, the war ended, and Keith was honorably discharged in 1946. He was awarded the Combat Medal with two stars, Good Conduct, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two stars, WWII Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal, and the state of Missouri Veteran Medal.
Following his discharge, Keith received his pilots license and formed a Civil Air Patrol in Trenton. He did some photography work in Columbia, and worked as a news editor for a radio station. Keith relocated to Cameron in 1973, and was employed with Northwest Electric Company for eighteen years before retiring.
Keith and his wife Dolores were married for 60 years before she passed in 2003. He laughs as he fondly recalls the day he was going to ask Dolores' dad for her hand in marriage. “I said, 'Dolores, I'm going to ask your dad if we can get married.' She said, 'That's fine. Be sure you got your good shoes on because you're going to do a lot of running'.”
Keith and Dolores had two children, Patricia and Denise, and have enjoyed the company of many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Keith is perhaps best known in the community for his leadership and service to the Missouri Veterans Home in Cameron. According to Keith, he was named the Charter President of the Assistance League when the Veterans Home was built, and held that position for several years. Keith is a member of the Masons, the VFW, and American Legion.
“Gib is a long-time community member of the city of Cameron. He was very instrumental in helping us to get the Cameron Veterans Home, and he has stayed involved to this very day. I would like to think that he represents all that is good in Cameron. Gib represents the voluntary spirit even when one's working days are over,” stated Jim O'Connor.
Currently, Keith visits the veterans home several times a week. “I'll go out there and each lunch, talk to the guys. We just shoot the breeze and tell stories,” said Keith. He has a passion for stained glass work, and has made two large glass windows for the First Christian Church in Cameron.
Keith, 94 years young, is looking forward to the parade.
Prior to the parade, the St. Munchin Altar Society is sponsoring their annual St. Patrick's Day luncheon at St. Rita Gym from 11a.m to 1:30p.m. Carry out and delivery are available.
The parade route begins in front of the old Post Office building on Fourth Street and proceeds east to Walnut, then south on Walnut to Third Street and west on Third Street, ending at McCorkle Park in downtown Cameron.
A short ceremony will be held at the Blarney Stone in McCorkle Park following the parade.