Keith Lowell Hilsabeck, Jr., died on July 12, 2015, at the age of 67, shortly after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Keith Lowell Hilsabeck, Jr., died on July 12, 2015, at the age of 67, shortly after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  

He was many things in his lifetime, husband, father, grandfather, soldier, leader, friend, a helping hand, an environmentalist and a Prius Driver.

He spent most of his childhood on a farm in Granby, and graduated high school from Granby High School in 1966. He served his country as an armor crewman in the United States Army in Vietnam. He attended and graduated from Missouri Southern College with a BSBA in business and obtained an additional degree in environmental health technology.

He married the love of his life, Maureen Hess on Aug. 21, 1971.  He was the kind of husband who danced with her in the kitchen and told everyone how beautiful she is every chance he got. He loved her fiercely and with all his heart, and it showed in everything he did.

His career was with the Missouri American Water Company starting out with an overnight shift in the plant and ending his career as the operations manager. He retired early in 2004 from the company after 28 years. He served on the Joplin Area Catholic School Board for a number of years, has been a member of the Knights of Columbus, and sang in the church choir. After retiring he spent several years volunteering for St. Vincent DePaul, and at St. Mary’s Church. He was kind, considerate, generous, and dedicated to his beliefs.  

Keith and Maureen had two children. He was the kind of father who taught by example. He believed in perseverance, hard work and achieving goals. He gave his children both roots and wings, laughter and love, security and independence, and then some more laughter, there was a lot of that.

For the last 13 years, he was “Bah,” grandpa extraordinaire. The kind of grandpa who saved the interesting bugs to show the grandkids, who secured a front row seat at the parade in the wee hours of the morning, who recorded the shows that would inspire them, and who was always there for them, whatever they needed. He was, in fact, the World’s Best Grandpa, just like the mug on his shelf says.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Keith L. Hilsabeck, Sr., and Thelma Esther Hilsabeck; a sister, Joy Diane Hilsabeck; and a brother, Raymond Bradley Hilsabeck.

He is survived by his wife, Maureen Hilsabeck, Joplin; his son, Brian Hilsabeck and wife, Cyndi, Joplin; his daughter, Tricia Gould and husband, Rhett, Joplin;  three sisters, Anita Johnson and her husband, Virgil, Diamond,  Rita Lowery and her husband, Dave, Granby, and Mary Hilsabeck-Huber and her wife, Sue, Springfield, Mo.; and five granddaughters, Hannah and Hailey Hilsabeck, and Ava, Claire and Elise Gould, all of Joplin.  

He was a hat wearing, Earth loving, put family and faith first, stop to help a stranger kind of man. He was one of a kind in all the best ways.   

In lieu of flowers, please start recycling, plant a tree, or pay it forward in his name or make a donation to St. Vincent DePaul through St. Mary’s Church.

A memorial mass will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church with Father J. Friedel officiating. Rosary service will be 6 p.m. Thursday at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church with visitation following until 8 p.m.

Arrangements are under the personal direction of Thornhill-Dillon Mortuary.