Ole miners don’t give up before announcing, “She’s deep enuf and well timbered.” Keith Droste, age 90, spoke these words days before his passing on Oct. 11, 2023.
Keith was born and raised in Sterling/Rock Falls, Illinois. As a high school student and athlete, he excelled in academics as well as football, swimming, diving and track and field. He earned an academic and athletic scholarship to Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, where he went on to lead his various sports teams to championships. Keith discovered a passion for science, particularly geology, and graduated with honors in 1955. Monmouth was also where he met Vivian, his first wife. Keith served his country in the US Army, working as a physical science assistant.
Keith’s enthusiasm for geology continued throughout his long and distinguished career in mining and exploration. In his 68 years in the mining industry, he experienced most types of hard rock and precious metal mining and knew the operation of all aspects relating to the profession. Keith’s focus throughout his career was exploration, development and management. He worked with and consulted for companies throughout the United States and around the globe. Keith was well known and respected in the mining community and was truly a “mentor to all,” as one colleague recalls. Anyone who met Keith would usually receive a brief education in geology and local mining history – whether they wanted it or not.
Keith’s genuine energy extended to all aspects of his life. He ran marathons throughout the United States. He hiked and climbed peaks in several western states. Wherever Keith lived, he was known as “that guy who is always hiking with his beloved dogs.” His skiing history spans from the early 1950s with winters spent working in Sun Valley, Idaho, to early skiing days in Park City, in the 1960s. He had an influence on the ski schools and ski racing programs at ski areas in North Idaho in the 1970s and 1980s. He then returned to the slopes of Utah for several years. Keith took his final runs at Lookout Pass, Idaho, at the age of 88. It was always a joy to spend time on the mountain with him … skiing the powder, groomed or, his personal favorite, the “crud.”
Keith was a person who was 100% invested in any relationship he formed. He is remembered for a life well lived by all who knew him. He is preceded in death by his mother, Velma Chapman Droste, and his father, Joseph Droste. Keith is especially cherished by his wife, Winona “Dale” Barcón; his three daughters, Darcy (Gwain) Oka, Paula (Dave) Halstead and Dana (Ed) Mulick; and his stepsons Vincent Barcón and Eric (Tammy) Barcón. He was loved and admired by his 13 grandchildren and his great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Our sincere gratitude to the entire staff at the Cancer Center at CVRMC in Globe for their excellent care during his battle with cancer. Thank you also to the wonderful staff from Aviant Hospice for their kindness and TLC during his final days.
In memory of Keith, contributions can be made to the Humane Society of your choice.
Services were entrusted to Bulman Miles Funeral Services in Globe, Arizona. You are encouraged to visit: www.BulmanMiles. com.