William Keith Gates passed away on August 27, 2019 at his home in Lake Elsinore, California. Keith, as he was known by all, was born September 2, 1936 in Loma Linda, California to his parents Russell and Eva Gates. In 1938 his parents packed up Keith and his older brother Sid and moved back to Wichita, Kansas and then to a farm near Cassoday, Kansas. Keith had very fond memories of growing up there with his two brothers, Sid and Neil, and his cousins that lived nearby. In fact years later in the 1980’s he moved back from California to Cassoday and operated a Bed and Breakfast for Hunters on a farm nearby. He also bought the feed store in Cassoday and a cabin on Fox Lake.
When Keith was eleven years old in 1947 the family moved to a home on S.W. 4th Street in Newton, Kanasas. He attended Washington Grade School and graduated from Newton High School in 1954. He went on to study at Wichita University and worked for the City of Newton in the planning department. In 1955 he married Mildred Werner, also from Newton. Keith had always dreamed of moving to California and in 1957 he and Mildred and their son Jeffrey did just that.
They settled first in Anaheim, California where Keith found work at an Engineering firm that had the contract to design the Monorail for Disneyland. One of his projects there was to work on some problems that they were having with the Monorail design and if it had not been for Keith there probably would never have been a Monorail. A few years later the family moved to Ontario, California where Keith became a partner in Hal Haldin & Assoc., a civil engineering firm.
In 1966 after Keith and Midge had divorced he married Jo Ann Frasz and they settled in Orange, California. Keith was now a Real Estate Broker and Developer. He had several projects in Southern California over the next fifteen years. Keith and Jo Ann raised three sons while living in Orange. Keith was the ultimate entrepreneur. He always had several projects going from land development, to building commercial real estate to residential home building. He even owned an upholstery business in Las Vegas that serviced the many casinos and restaurants there. After he lost Jo Ann to breast cancer in 2007 he retired and settled in Lake Elsinore, California where he enjoyed fishing. Keith also had a love for prospecting and rock hounding.
He loved surf fishing over the hill in Dana Point. Keith was a kind and loving father, brother and friend to many. We will all miss Keith and his kind heart but we find comfort in knowing that he is with our Lord and Savior for all Eternity.
Keith is survived by one brother, Sid Gates of Denver, Colorado and one sister, Nancy Baumann and her husband John of Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. His younger brother Neil Gates passed away just a month before Keith. He had two children with Mildred, one son, Jeffrey Gates who passed away in 2005 and one daughter Elizabeth Gates of Whittier, California. He is also survived by his three sons with Jo Ann, Walter Gates and his wife Kathy of Las Vegas, Nevada, Sean Gates and his wife Karla of Costa Mesa, California and David Gates and his wife Paula of Cambria, California. Keith also leaves four grandchildren, Sterling, Walker, Skylar and Jennifer and one great grandchild.
There will be a joint Memorial Service for Keith and his brother Neil at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18 at Petersen Funeral Home in Newton.