In Memory

Keith Irwin

Amarilloan Dies in Houston Hospital

William Keith Irwin Jr., 24, died Sunday in Methodist Hospital at Houston.  Services will be at 4pm tomorrow in the sanctuary of Polk Street United Methodist Church.  Dr. Clifford Trotter, pastor, will officiate.  Burial will be in Llano Cemetry by N.S. Griggs & Sons Funeral Directors. 

Mr. Irwin was born in Amarillo and had lived here all his life.

He made his home west of the city and was associated with his father in farming and ranching.

He was a member of Polk Street United Methodist Church, where he served on the Administrative Board.  He was a member of the Seekers Sunday School Class. 

Mr. Irwin was a graduate of Tascosa High School, the University of Texas, and the Ranch Management Program at Texas Christian University.  While in high school he lettered in both football and baseball.

His great-grandfather was Billy Dixon, an Army scout who is considered the hero of the Adobie Walls battle near Borger in the late 1800's.

Surviving are his wife, the former Kathryn Bandy; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Keith Irwin Sr. of west of the city; two sisters, Corinne Irwin of Austin and Christine Louise Irwin of Amarillo; and grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Walter R. Irwin and Mrs. H.T. Neely,  all of Amarillo.

The family requests memorials be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society, Polk Street United Methodist Church, the Keith Irwin Scholarship Fund to the Ranch Management Program at TCU, or to favorite charities.

Original obituary and documents provided by Dayle Tipton

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04/14/11 11:05 AM #1    

David Moore

Ever since this web site came up I have wondered what to say about Keith.  I first met Keith in Boy Scouts.  I would see him at the troop meetings only because he went to another jr. high.  We reconnected in high school.  I think I will share a few stories about Keith.

1.  We were at his house out near the helium plant, west of town with some other guys and the festivities rapidly degenerated into throwing cow chips at each other.  It turned out to be the biggest mess.  One of those messes that when you get home, your mother makes you take off your clothes in the back yard.

2.  The baseball team would occasionally travel out of town to play a game.  We would pack our uniforms and gear into a travel bag and throw it on the bus.  We would also take a travel bag full of towels for after the game.  Each bag would be identified with the player's name handwritten on a piece of tape attached to the bag.  The bag containing the towels would cleverly be labeled "towels".  Keith and I hatched a plan to play a joke on Mike Brown.  We pulled the piece of tape bearing Mike's name off of his bag and put it on the bag containing the towels.  Of course the piece of tape labeled "towels" was placed on Mike's bag.  When we got to whereever we were going everyone got their bag and started getting dressed for the game.  The look on Mike's face when he opened what he thought was his bag and saw that it was full of towels was priceless.  Keith and I laughed about that for weeks. 

3.  At the end of our senior year and after the baseball season was over, Keith and I would go play golf after school.  Well, we wanted to get an earlier start but were unable to because I had vocabulary class fifth period.  I think Keith was some coach's aid.  So Keith got a note from Coach Brinkley to get me out of class so that we could get an earlier start on the golf game.  We did this for a few days much to Mrs. Kenyon's dismay.  One day Coach Brinkley said no more passes.  That didn't stop Keith.  He folded up a blank piece of paper and went to Mrs. Kenyon's class room.  Mrs. Kenyon looked at Keith and then looked at me and I got up and left the room.

4.  Keith and I went to UT and roomed together for a year.  We would play hockey with a golf ball and golf clubs in the living room.  We pulled the cushions off of the couch and put them in front of the sliding glass door.  Of course, the games became quite spirited and it is a miracle that we didn't break the glass door or hit somebody between the eyes with the ball.

5.  The next year at UT he lived down the way in the same complex.  His apartment faced Town Lake.  One night about sundown, I was sitting outside and saw a shotgun barrel come out of the window at Keith's apartment.  I looked down at the lake and saw a bunch of ducks on the water and thought Oh no, he's not going to do this.  Well he started blasting away at the ducks and lights started coming on.  I hustled inside lest I be considered a witness to this event.

6.  After graduation, Keith went to Fort Worth for the TCU ranch management program.  In December of that year he married Kathryn Bandy, whom he had met at UT.  Not too long after the wedding, he was diagnosed with cancer and died on Christmas Day 1977.  What a way to remember Christmas.

06/08/11 10:49 PM #2    

Dayle Tipton

Reading David's comments about Keith spurs me on to put a few memories on the website, too. I first met Keith when he played on an opposing YMCA baseball team in the 9th grade summer. We learned that we would be together at THS soon. I later met his parents at Patty Daniel's house as Ray Daniel and Bill Irwin were friends growing up in Amarillo. Mr. Irwin asked me what I was doing that summer for work and told me they need someone to help haul hay. So, the three week job hauling hay turned into three years of working summers with Keith and his dad in the Bushland area.

I had a 64 VW bug and would pick Keith up at his house on Helium Road and drive on to Bushland. Needless to say Keith and his family have been tremendous influences in my life. I still see his mother in Amarillo. His sister Corinne teaches math at Texas. Keith's younger sister, Chris, lives in Virginia (I think) and her son is named Keith in his honor. I saw him recently and he looks like the Keith we all know. 

During the summer days of working at a grain elevator, delivering grain in a bobtail truck, rolling fence in the middle of no where, Keith and I kept each other entertained. We traded swats with a broom one day and Keith got the best of me. He was so powerful in his swinging  that he lit me up that day. Some of you will remember Keith lead the high school district in home runs his senior year. For a second baseman to be able to do that, it was quite an accomplishment. Keith was also the helment award winner (highest average on the football team) his senior year.

One of my practical jokes on him involved sending him after supplies at the Rocking B farm supply one day as we serviced trucks and tractors. The manager at the elevator and I were in on the joke, so he wrote a list out showing we needed diesel spark plugs for the John Deere tractor. Keith read the list out loud at the Rocking B and all of the farmers and ranchers laughed at him when he asked for diesel plugs. When he got back to the shop with a box of supplies, we asked him where the plugs were. He was not happy and I knew payback was going to be bad. Hah, so much for the helment award.

Keith was a hard worker and working with him was a pleasure. His dad never cut him slack on job duties. If I was assigned a job, Keith was there right beside me or had a duty that was just as tough.  

His memory is very strong with me. I have a few times looked in my rear view mirror and thought the guy behind me looks like Keith.  If you have lost a parent or close friend, sometimes things happen and you think I need to call that person and let them know about it. Then it hits you again, oh, I can't. I think of Keith often and remember many good times. I also wonder what would have happened as we continued as close friends up to the current time. Sobering thoughts that life is short and we need to use our time wisely. 

I hope all of us will cherish our time with our family, friends and soon, once again with high school classmates. Dayle

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