Obituaries » Thomas M. Keith
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August 25, 1931 - March 18, 2020
Thomas “Tom” Marshall Keith was born August 25, 1931 in Shreveport, Louisiana to parents, Gus M. Keith and Dorothy Van Cleave and passed away peacefully Wednesday, March 18. 2020 while working on his passion project, a camp to help teach pioneer and outdooring skills and crafts to special needs individuals, wounded warriors and those who could benefit from these skills.
As a young boy Tom lived in the time of the Great Depression and WWII. From his 11th birthday he was involved in Boy Scouts of America. He always talked about having to give ration stamps to scout camp as part of his payment to go. He was later Waterfront Director and had innovative ideas like tea in an old hose stocking for slap on sunscreen and alcohol in baby bottles for ear wash after swimming to avoid infections.
After graduating from C. E. Byrd High School he was a photographer in the United States Navy and was stationed in Samford, Florida and then in Naples, Italy. He was assigned high altitude missions and well as PR duties for a local beauty pageant. He was involved with a Sea Scout troop and visited the Italian Boy Scout Office. He was never shy to make new friends and didn’t let lack of knowing the language keep him from showing Naples locals American BSA patches and ask “office?”, a new friend led the way.
Upon returning in 1955 to Shreveport, he enrolled in Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport. He majored in Psychology thinking that he wanted to go into professional scouting as a career. He however wanted to stay closer to the true scouting programs with the young men. He was Scoutmaster of Troop 7 and then later Troop 15. He was also involved with the Single Young Adults Sunday School Class at Noel United Methodist Church and met he wife of more than 50 years, Martha Gillen there. He has also taken an active role in the Masons as well as Scottish Society.
Tom’s passion project “Silver Eagles Inc.” a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation was recently reactivated as the entity to build and operate a camp for special needs individuals, wounded military, first responders and seasoned citizens with an emphasis on life-changing educational Native American and pioneering skills suitable for this audience.
Many of Tom’s friends from the past may recall this same name from its earlier incarnations where it originally was called “Boy Scout Troop 15 Alumni and Boosters Club” or as it was then amended to “Silver Eagles Inc.” back in 1985. Over 1000 trips were taken back then for various school, church and, civic organizations too destinations stretching from coast to coast and beyond (the Bahamas). This version of the corporation ended abruptly when the bus caught fire while being serviced and was destroyed. Tom eloquently stated about how he entered into retirement at this time by saying, “God spoke to Moses through the burning bush. He spoke to me though a burning bus!”
The new version of this corporation is in the beginning stages with the property purchased up on the Texas side of Caddo Lake near Karnack and Jefferson. Originally residents of the area knew this property as “Pine Needle Lodge” but the name on the title has been changed to “Silver Eagles”. Construction has started with buildings for both a warehouse and shop completed. The paperwork was recently completed and filed with the IRS to allow any donations to be legally deductible.
Left to cherish his memory are his children, John Keith and Guy Keith; sister, Vanette Keith; grandchildren, Dylan Keith and Sawyer Keith and numerous nieces, nephews and loved ones.