On November 18, 2020, Keith Silen, loving husband, father, and grandfather passed away peacefully surrounded by love in his home at the age of 80.
Keith was born in North Bend, Oregon, to Frederick and Helen Schmid-Silen. He spent much of his early life in the Portland and Hillsboro area, but in his teenage years he moved to Trout Lake, Washington, to live with his grandparents on the dairy farm. Trout Lake was always a special place for Keith, yielding a lifetime of good memories, humorous stories, and great adventures. The lessons learned in Trout Lake from the farm and family were monumental and guided Keith’s path in and through life.
After graduating, Keith served in the United States Army National Guard. While serving, Keith married Bonnie and was blessed with two daughters. In 1968, Keith started his 34-year career with the Klickitat County PUD in the engineering department. Keith married the love of his life, Donna, in 1981, and became the father of two additional daughters, adopted and raised as if they were his own. They created a beautifully blended family. Retirement brought more time for adventure and travel, while making great memories with family and friends. Hawaii became Keith’s second home where the warmth and the spirit of “aloha” resonated in his soul. His seven grandchildren kept him young at heart, bringing him much joy and many headshakes.
One of Keith’s early hobbies was photography. He had a gift for capturing the perfect scene or special memorable moment. He had a passion for the outdoors, seeking to discover the hidden wonders of nature and all its beauty. He especially enjoyed hiking, climbing, and traveling, and was always eager to share all of the beauty with everyone he knew or who was lucky enough to cross paths with him. Keith never met a stranger, quickly becoming friends with people all over the world. He enjoyed spending time with people, hearing their stories and learning from them. Golfing became a challenge and preferred hobby for Keith during the last 10 years. He was fond of the game, but, more importantly, of the friends, food, and fellowship that came with it. Keith loved his family immensely and spent much of his time as a road warrior driving for gatherings, family fun, sporting events, and important milestones.
His devotion to the community of Goldendale was abundant and purposeful, with over 35 years of service as a volunteer firefighter, council member, and mayor. In addition, Keith was immersed in various community organizations, volunteering his time for the greater good. His goal was always to serve the people of Goldendale in order to create and sustain a thriving community where future generations prosper, find joy, and call Goldendale their home. He loved to participate in community events, never wanting to miss a parade, a sporting event, or a social gathering. He was a man of faith who trusted in God and a member of Christ the King Lutheran Church.
Keith is remembered with love by his wife Donna; his daughters Sheri, Natalie (and her husband Bill Eastin and their two children Amelia and William), Denise (and her husband Chad Ross and their three children Drew, Austin, and Riley), Michelle (and her husband Travis Ives and their two children Keagan and McKenna); and many wonderful family and friends who hold Keith near and dear to their heart.
Keith’s request was to have a memorial service when it is safe to gather. We will honor his memory with a service in the spring or summer. Keith’s gentle soul, zest for living, words of wisdom, quiet chuckle, and kind heart will be sorely missed. As the quote says, “The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.” Keith lived that life...