Keith E. Locke

Keith E. Locke, age 75, passed into eternal rest surrounded by love on November 27, 2021. Keith is survived by his wife, Linda Casser Locke. Keith is also survived by his brother, James A. Locke, III (Susan), his nieces Kerry Locke Bedard (David) and Wendy L. Garrity (Dave) and their families, his nephew James A. Locke, IV, his mother-in-law Carolyn L. Casser, aunts, an uncle, cousins and cousins-in-law, three godchildren and their families, and many dear friends. Born on October 29, 1946, in East Liverpool, OH, Keith was predeceased by his parents, James A. Locke, Jr., and Margaret H. Locke, who were community leaders and owners of James Locke Jewelers in East Liverpool, which was a source of Keith’s great pride and personal commitment. Keith was a proud alumnus of the East Liverpool High School Class of 1964.

Keith graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in German. He sang tenor in the OWU choir, played trumpet in the jazz band, and was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Beginning in 1968 during the Vietnam War era, Keith served his country for three years as a Special-Agent-in-Charge in the United States Army, Military Intelligence, in Munich and Berchtesgaden, Germany. Following military service, Keith continued his education, completing a Master of Arts degree in German in 1972 that was jointly conferred by Middlebury College in Vermont and Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet in Mainz, Germany. Keith served as an adjunct faculty member in the mid-1990s, teaching German at Butler University and Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

Keith began a Doctor of Philosophy program in Comparative Literature at Indiana University in 1973. After completing two dissertations and overcoming logistical challenges, Keith proudly received his PhD degree from IU in 1992. Keith was ahead of his time in successfully completing his PhD while employed in the business world, and he also was an early adopter of technology despite encountering skepticism at the time about the role of computers in academic dissertation writing. Keith was a model for demonstrating the value of integrating the humanities into business through his acceptance into a Mini-MBA program at New York University in 1978 sponsored by a National Humanities Grant. He went on to have a very successful business career, including leadership roles in sales and marketing (Manager, Sales and Marketing for Sun Chemical Corporation; Director of Sales and Marketing for the Mansur Development Corporation); business consulting, business coaching, and strategic planning (Keith founded Market Planning Consultants); and, teleconferencing. Keith concluded his business career with distinction in 2013 as President and CEO of TelSpan, Inc. For 6 years, Keith served as a part-time Patient Coordinator for international optometry programs at Salus University; he served in a similar role for Salus’ Veterans Readiness Initiative Pilot Clinic. Keith was professorial in life and in the business world. He was intellectually curious; an avid reader of philosophy, Christianity, and biographies; a wonderful and thoughtful writer; and, he enjoyed healthy debates on a wide array of topics. Keith lent his business acumen to multiple neighborhood association leadership roles, for which is remembered for his dedication, professionalism, and achieving positive outcomes.

Keith met the love of his life, Linda, at Indiana University in 1975. Married in 1982, they spent 39 cherished years together of enjoying domestic and international travel, attending cultural events (theater, symphony, ballet, opera), appreciating fine food and beverages, gathering with family members and friends, watching college football (Go Bucks!), and cheering for NCAA basketball games (March Madness). Keith also enjoyed alpine skiing, bicycle riding and tours, and beautifying our homes through his passion for gardening and nature. Keith and Linda had a very close, loving, and mutually supportive relationship, and Linda is the forever grateful beneficiary of Keith’s unconditional love and support. The opportunities to live in and travel to different geographic locations resulted in the development of deep, treasured, and enduring friendships for both of them with individuals from around the country and even the world. Keith is remembered by all who knew and loved him as a friendly, cheerful, caring, humble, and intelligent man who demonstrated a strong faith and who touched many people through his work, interests, and pursuits. Keith was an active member of the Presbyterian church and was previously ordained as an Elder. Keith is already deeply missed by family members and friends, especially by his “true love” Linda.

A service to celebrate Keith’s life will be held at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, December 5, 2021, with the Reverends Sam Warner and Daria Ragan officiating at First Presbyterian Church, 102 South Central Avenue, Belmont, NC 28012. The service will be livestreamed on the church’s website www.fpc-belmont.org. Burial with military honors will follow at Evergreen A Quiet Place cemetery in Belmont. The family will receive friends one hour before the service in the church Gathering Area. Family members and out of town friends are invited to return to the church for a bereavement meal following the burial.

For their wonderful care and support, Keith’s family sincerely thanks the ministers and members of First Presbyterian Church, Belmont, NC, including the Men’s Fellowship and Men’s Breakfast groups; the compassionate providers of Holy Redeemer Home Hospice; and, the nurses and doctors at the Fox Chase Cancer Center. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church Belmont, NC at www.fpc-belmont.org, Holy Redeemer Home Hospice https://www.redeemerhealth.org/giving/memorial-donation Designation: Redeemer Health PA Hospice, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Condolences and remembrances of Keith may be shared at www.McLeanFuneral.com. McLean Funeral Directors of Belmont is serving the Locke family.