A proud patriot of the United States, Keith E. Strait, age 71, of Mount Gilead, was called to heaven to meet his Lord and savior after passing away peacefully at home following a battle with cancer.
On August 8, 1945, Keith was born in Mount Vernon, Ohio, one of three children of the late Tina (Pruitt) Casto and Robert Strait.
At the age of 17, Keith wanted to better himself and enlisted early to serve in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. He was stationed in Maine and served as a flight line escort, assisting with transportation. He also earned his high school diploma during his service.
Upon his honorable discharge, Keith returned home to Mount Gilead and quickly went to work at the Whirlpool Corporation in Marion, sometimes working double shifts to provide a good life for his family. He worked there for thirty years, working his way up to being an inspector. He retired from there in 2001.
Keith formerly attended the Pulaskiville Community Bible Church and Berean Baptist Church. He also left a legacy to his children about his strong faith in the saving power of Jesus.
Keith married the love of his life, Jan Casto, in August of 1986.
Born to ride, Keith loved “motorcycles, motorcycles, and … motorcycles.” Although he had several Harley Davidson’s throughout the years, his pride and joy was his beautiful orange motorcycle he built from scratch and completely with his own two hands. He especially enjoyed the common misconception that everyone thought it was a Harley Davidson, when only a couple parts on the bike were Harley parts. Recently, he was proud to display his motorcycle at the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) for three months, alongside a famous motorcycle builder, Billy Lane. Being a motorcycle enthusiast also meant Keith loved to ride in the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, making it to 17 rally’s and he really hoped to be able to make it to at least one more.
Being the proud patriot that he was, Keith believed in fighting for those who lost their lives in Vietnam, but were never brought home. He wore this belief by creating a flag holder on his motorcycle to display the American flag, POW, and MIA flags to flap boldly behind him. He and Jan also rode in the Rolling Thunder Run in Washington D.C. several times protesting that Capital Hill was not bringing our fallen Vietnam soldiers home. He even went as far as painting one of his vans with the slogan, “All Gave Some. Some Gave All.” Keith also was a member of the American Legion and the Patriot Guard Riders.
Keith also had a talent and love for wood working which he made into a business opportunity.
A staunch republican, Keith openly shared his opinions whenever possible. He was so firm in his beliefs, he wanted to share them to help better the Mount Gilead and Morrow County community. He did so as a member of Village Council, serving several terms. He also ran for Mayor, being narrowly defeated in that race.
In addition to his wife and children, Keith loved his canine companions, having too many to count over his lifetime, however the two most recent: Buddy and Bo. He was reunited with Buddy, as he too just passed.
His family is very proud of him as he overcame a lot in his life, which made him the strong man he was. They are also proud of how he fought for his family (especially his children), for his community, and for his country.
He will be missed by his wife, Jan Strait; three children: Trisha (Mitch) Hutchinson, Dane Strait, and Heather (Tony) Williamson; three step-children: Gary “Dean” Chubb, Roni Marie (Khalid) Ali, and Jeremy (Sherri) Chubb; 17 grandchildren: Ashley Bailey, Haley Hutchinson, Sydney, Noah, Daejai, and Cierra Strait, Sarah-Faith Bean, Zach Chubb, Ava, Imaad, Azim and Laila Ali, Jacee and Emma Chubb, Britt, and Eve, Gavin Chubb, Zoe’; and numerous great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Including his parents, Keith was preceded in death by a step-son, Jonathan Chubb; and two sisters: Judy McAvoy and Penny Harden.
Keith’s family and friends will be invited to join them on a tribute ride to his final resting place in Rivercliff Cemetery in Mount Gilead. This ride will be announced shortly.
Memorial contributions may be made to his family to assist them with unexpected expenses.
On behalf of his family, they would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to one of Keith’s closest friends, Bobby Morrison and his wife, Kim, for being a true friend, caring for him every minute of his final days.
Snyder Funeral Homes of Mount Gilead are honored to have been chosen to serve Keith’s family and your condolences may be expressed to them by visiting www.SnyderFuneralHomes.com.