Keith Lorne McKeown

1975 ~ 2022

Memorial Gathering

Chase Mill at Tracy Aviary 589 E. 1300 S. Salt Lake City Utah 84105
Apr 27, 2022 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Keith Lorne McKeown, 47, died peacefully and unexpectedly of natural causes on April 19, 2022. His enormous heart and kind soul contained boundless love, curiosity, and creativity, radiating appreciation for life wherever he was.
He was born January 30, 1975 and was raised with his sister Lynn by their adoring parents, Bruce and Florence McKeown in Victoria, BC, Canada. They lived in a vibrant neighborhood full of friends and surrounded by forest with beaches nearby. He rode his big wheel down the street at terrifying speeds, played soccer in the mud and rain, biked on the trails behind his house, and engaged in plenty of adolescent mischievousness with a group of amazing lifelong friends. He loved the ocean and a good adventure. He and a childhood friend joined the Sail and Life Training Society (SALTS) and boarded the tall ship Robertson II in Victoria during the summer of 1990 for a ten-day excursion. There he developed incredible bonds with friends he held close his entire life; including two adventurous girls from Utah; one of whom, Heather Newell, he eventually married.
A variation of this group of friends sailed for two more summers on ten-day trips to Desolation Sound. A smaller crew of them participated in the SALTS offshore program in 1995, sailing aboard the Pacific Swift for three months throughout the South Pacific, covering more than 7,000 nautical miles. Heather and Keith were fast friends at first, which turned into a deep bond, and eventually true love. They were married in a grove of blazing yellow Aspens near Zion National Park on October 9, 1999. They married young, played hard, and settled into a home on an idyllic street in Salt Lake City before having their two children, Drake Read (fourteen) and Lydia Grace (ten).
The McNewells, as they are affectionally called, became the hub of their neighborhood, hosting parties, Easter egg hunts, gutter day gatherings, and backyard fires with friends. It was Keith’s absolute privilege to be a full-time dad, after leaving a brief career as a landscape architect. He created unforgettable Halloween costumes for his children, and his innate curiosity directed their attention to the extraordinary beauty in the ordinary--from a colony of ants piling on the sidewalk, to long shadows from the top of a sand dune, to unexpected quirks and patterns in both urban and natural settings. He loved tinkering in the yard, camper, and home with endless creative projects reflecting thoughtfulness, beauty and attention to detail.
Always an instigator of memorable activities, Keith planned group camping trips year-round, organized expeditions with family and friends to the tops of peaks and in the depths of red rock canyons. His family loved exploring the West in their tiny camper, traveling to beautiful places and floating down the Salmon River. He returned often to visit his parents in Victoria, where he would also gather old friends to walk the breakwater, get a beer in the pub, or collect rocks and sea glass on the beaches of Vancouver Island. Long before drones and digital cameras, Keith engineered a mechanical kitchen timer and a disposable camera, then attached the contraption to a large kite to capture aerial photographs. Kite aerial photography was one of his many passions. It brought him great joy to see the world from different perspectives and to share the things he found unique, intriguing, and humorous.
Above all, Keith was a passionate husband and father, fiercely devoted to Heather, Drake, and Lydia. He supported Heather’s career in education and was the creative backbone that held Backman Elementary together for eight years. There, he was the definition of community, from teaching classes to making stickers, designing shirts, and leading parades. He made a lasting impression with his gentle, genuine presence. Keith cared deeply for his extended family and expressed his love through photo post cards, a simple text, a delicious meal, and enveloping hugs. He exuded gratitude, saying "Thank you" for the everyday deeds more frequently than anyone we know. And now, as we look back on his too-short life, we are filled with gratitude that he lived and enriched our lives so deeply. From the bottom of our hearts, Keith McKeown, thank you.
Keith is survived by his wife Heather Newell, his children, Drake and Lydia, his parents, Bruce and Florence McKeown in Victoria, British Columbia, by his sister Lynn McKeown (Pat Joyce)
and his nephew Markus in Calgary, Alberta. Stateside, he is survived by Heather’s parents Jackson and Linda Newell, sisters-in-law, Christine Newell (Bob Hoffa), Jennifer Newell (Steven Anjewierden), and brother-in-law Eric Newell (Emma Mecham), and each of their children who adored their Uncle Keith.
An open-house celebration of his life will be held at Tracy Aviary, [589 East 1300 South, in Salt Lake City, Utah] on Wednesday evening, April 27, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. There will be an open mic for those who wish to share a few words. A Zoom link will be available for those unable to attend in person. There will be a gathering in honor of Keith in Victoria in July.
In Keith’s memory, please take a walk, fly a kite, go on a bike ride, or spend time outside in a place that brings you joy. Look for beauty in the cracks of the sidewalk and be kind to each other. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Keith McKeown can be made to SALTS (at Funds will go toward a summer sailing scholarship for young people from diverse backgrounds or children who have lost a parent.


I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Lynn has been a friend for years, and I would often hear about updates on Keith and his family. The tribute is beautiful to capture Keith’s curiosity for life. My heart goes out to Lynn and parents, as well as Heather and children.

- Kristine Taylor Lee

Heather, Florence and Bruce. Our hearts broke upon hearing the news that Keith had passed too early and without warning. We have known Keith and family since he was born. As a child we saw him everyday as a neighbour and my sons best friend. Keith loved the outdoors, one of my fondest memories of Keith was taking Patrick and Keith on a 5 day hike of 60 miles along the Westcoast Trail. The SALTS trip where Keith and Patrick met Heather and Misty was the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship for all four. Keith will always be in our shared memories. He lived a full and beautiful life..
Phil Warren

- Phil Warren

Heather, Drake and Lydia
Our deepest condolences. We cannot imagine how devastated you must be. The time we had together in Nova Scotia was so incredibly special and I am ever so grateful for having that time meeting and getting to know you. It was evident how special Keith was and I am so sad that our journey in finally cultivating our family relation has been cut short. Please know that we will be thinking of all of you and our hearts are filled with love for all of you. Please let’s continue to grow our family relations in honour of Keith.

- Stephanie McKeown

After my family moved to Victoria in 1991, I started the daily walk home from school with a group that included Keith. Keith was inclusive, a kind instigator and a gentle leader, positive, encouraging and always up to do almost anything. Many memorable creatively mischievous times and adventures were shared, but also a constructive influence in finding a positive direction to grow up. Really beyond grateful that I got to navigate this time and grow up alongside Keith.

- Chris Larson

“ A beautiful soul is a rare thing and it's about having a kind and loving heart, having such a positive vibe that people around them feel at peace whenever these beautiful souls are around. They help everyone around them to achieve their best.”
In my experience, Keith McKeown was one of these rare and beautiful souls. I hope his beloved family find peace and comfort through amazing memories they made together and knowing that he brought a sense of security and acceptance to people around him.
I got to know him more when I had the pleasure of teaching Lydia, one of my most caring and loving students. He always greeted me with smile and respect.
His loss is a heavy pain even for those who knew him and his beautiful family for a short amount of time.
May he rests in peace and his beloved family be blessed and protected by the grace of God.

- Laleh & family

Heather, Drake and Lydia,

Words cannot express our deep sympathy at Keith’s passing. Our hearts are breaking with yours. Please accept our sincere condolences.

Newell and Pam

- Newell and Pam McMurtry

Sorry for your loss.
We keep your family in our thoughts and prayers.
RIP Keith!

- Mohsen (Laleh's husband)

John and I want to express our deepest sympathy and sorrow for the tragic death of Keith. Our love and thoughts are with you. Love, Andrea

- Andrea. Hampshire

I am sad to hear of your passing old friend, too soon. My memories of us playing together in pre-school, patrolling the backline together for CB youth soccer or chatting at middle school will always be fresh in my mind. Despite it being many years since our paths diverged as we lived our lives as we saw fit, you were always considered a friend.

My heartfelt condolences to your family and Freinds.

- Richard Klassen

Dearest Family,
I hold you in my heart for the loss of such a Beloved Husband, Father, Son, Friend, Brother, Brother-Inlaw and all of what an amazing man Keith was as he walked his Earth Path. What an amazing example of a person who cared for all and lived a life with purpose and passion. Though I did not know him personally, I am inspired by the memories and words that have been shared. May you all be full of the emotions that carry your through with loving memory.
Many Blessings,
Kelley Ingols

- Kelley Ingols

Heather, Drake and Lydia,

Words cannot express our deep sympathy at Keith’s passing. Our hearts are breaking with your. Please accept our sincere condolences.

Newell and Pam

- Newell and Pam McMurtry

Heather, Drake and Lila,

Words cannot express our deep sympathy at Keith’s passing. Our hearts are breaking with your. Please accept our sincere condolences.

Newell and Pam

- Newell and Pam McMurtry

By far one of the best men I've ever met. From pedaling, FACn' off, & creative discussions to fun text messages about rad old bikes. I'm so thankful to have known Keith and strive to emulate his demeanor. Thank you Brother for being a beacon in this world. Much Love, Puddy.

- Mark Puddy

Keith was such an amazing man. I am glad to have known him. The world lost a light with his passing. I am so sorry for your family.

- Melanie Meriwether

Heather, our deepest condolences to you in this time of profound loss. Our hearts go out to you. We mourn with you. You are not alone.
Much love, Sandra and Dave Jenkins.

- David Jenkins

Our family met with Keith and his family when they visited Nova Scotia a few years ago. We immediately felt a strong connection with each other and hoped to get together again at some future time. It was very clear to us that Keith was a very special person and we realize how much he will be missed by his family and friends.

- David L McKeown

All my love and light to Heather and family. Keith beamed love and positive energy. He was a friend to all, and i will miss his presence in the world. I’m grateful for my time with Keith and family!

- Katy Parker

Thinking of all the great memories together, some so long ago it’s hard to remember . Doing the west coast trail with Keith was definitely a high light of my life. In grade 9 I didn’t have a lot of friends and would often sit alone at lunchtime. Keith would often come find me and take me home to his place for lunch. A small thing but meant so much to me. Thanks so much Keith you where always such a great friend! You will be greatly missed!!

- Rob town