Daryl Keck, 89, of Hammett, passed away peacefully in a Boise care center on Friday, Dec. 24, 2010, with his family at his bedside.
A memorial service will be held celebrating Daryl's life at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 30, at the VFW Hall in Glenns Ferry. Cremation was under the direction of Rost Funeral Home, McMurtrey Chapel in Mountain Home.
Daryl was born at home on a farm in Marshall County, Kan., near Oketo on Dec. 5, 1921. He was the third of nine children. His father farmed 320 acres using horse-drawn equipment.
When Daryl was 6 years old, his dad bought an Icelandic pony for the kids to ride to school and to use in hunting coyotes. Daryl's love of horses was established early.
When Daryl was 84, he made a trip to Iceland where he rode over 50 miles on Icelandic ponies, fulfilling a longtime dream.
When Daryl was 18 years old, he went to California with a cousin to find work. He ended up as a welder in the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in San Pedro.
His Kansas sweetheart, Jeannette Olson of Beattie, Kan., joined him in California, where they married in July 1942. In October of that year, he volunteered to join the US Army Air Corps thinking he could continue as a welder. Instead, he ended up in Italy as a sheet metal specialist patching bullet holes in airplanes during WW II. He returned to the states in November 1945. Daryl was proud of his service in the war and was an active supporter of the VFW.
Daryl and Jeannette had two children by that time. The family moved to Jerome, where Daryl's dad had resettled. Daryl worked for his dad about one year and then went to work for himself cutting timber on Trail Creek above
Sun Valley. This led him into the construction business, building log homes in Jerome. He operated his construction business until 1962, building numerous homes, commercial buildings, churches and other buildings in Jerome and surrounding area.
While in Jerome, Daryl was active in Kiwanis, Toastmasters, the Jerome Posse, and First Christian Church. During those years, Daryl and Jeannette added three more children to their family.
In 1962, Daryl realized a life-long dream by trading some Jerome property for a cattle ranch in Owyhee County across the Snake River from Hammett. He continued in the construction business for several years to subsidize the ranch income. But his real love was working the ranch, the cattle, and especially, the horses.
Daryl was one of the founding members of the Glenns Ferry Grazing Association, which purchased and operated a ranch in Owyhee County. Some of his fondest memories were of the hours spent riding his favorite horses, Ginger, Pal, Juniper and King, in the Owyhee range of the Glenns Ferry Grazing Association ranch and riding behind the home ranch up Saylor Creek.
In 1992, Daryl sold his interest in the Glenns Ferry Grazing Association and semi-retired in Hammett with three horses, including his faithful King, and a few cows.
When the Three Island Crossing reenactment at Glenns Ferry was started, Daryl was an active, enthusiastic participant, crossing the Snake River on horseback from 1988-1992. During the winter of 1992-93, Daryl researched the ferry that had been an integral part of the pioneer's crossing the river there, giving Glenns Ferry its name. In 1993, Daryl supervised the construction of a 32-foot replica of the original current-powered-ferry with an all volunteer crew and all donated materials. He then served as "ferry pilot" for 10 years during the annual reenactment of the crossing until the ferry was retired.
Daryl was chairman of the Three Island Crossing Committee from 1995-1997 and was a volunteer member of the committee until 2009. Passing on the history of the area, especially to school children, was very important to him.
Daryl was an active participant and supporter of the Hammett Community Church. He assisted in the initial construction of the original church made from used railroad ties. He served as an elder for many years and was particularly interested in developing a youth center at the church.
Closely associated with Daryl's love of horses was his love of hunting.
Starting in the late 1940s and continuing for over 50 years, Daryl looked forward to an annual hunting trip into the Selway Wilderness area of Idaho with his group of trusted hunting partners. Everyone who knows Daryl has heard many a tale about the elk that got away, the difficulty in packing out the ones they got, and the appreciation he had for the great horses he took on hunting trips over the years.
Daryl was a story teller and his family and friends will miss hearing all of the stories from his life.
Daryl is survived by his loving wife of 68 years, Jeannette, and by his five children, Jerry (Anne Perkins) Keck of Helena, Mont., Darlene Rolley of Boise, Bob (Sharon) Keck of Caldwell, Diana (Rocky) Dillenburg of Pendleton, Ore., and Kevin (Cathie) Keck of Silver Peak, Nev., 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by three sisters, Dolores Varland of Morris, Ill., Dorothy Griffee of Marysville, Kan., and DeeDee Axelton of North Bend, Ore., and one brother, Duane Keck, of Mary Esther, Fla., plus numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and four brothers. Memorials may be made in Daryl's memory to the Hammett Community Church Youth Center, at Hammett Community Church, 9223 Church St., Hammett, ID 93627, or to the charity of your choice.