Keith was born October 30, 1924 in Potosi, Wisconsin, one of four children of Art and Oranel Cardey. At the age of 17, he left Potosi to join the Navy, and proudly served our country in the Pacific during World War II, with most of his time aboard a destroyer ship called the USS John Rodgers. Keith was an Electrician’s Mate, First Class.
In 1946, Keith married Lorraine Morgan, his wife of more than 50 years. Keith and Lorraine lived in Madison, Wisconsin, where Keith obtained his Engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin. They then moved to Lexington, Kentucky, where Keith received his law degree from the University of Kentucky. After living in Decatur, Illinois for a few years, they settled their family in Elmhurst, Illinois. Keith’s career focused on water and power companies, serving as an executive, consultant and expert witness for many years. He was fond of say about his work life that “traveling was the hardest work I did” because he spent so much time in airports and on airplanes. Keith had many friends and former work colleagues from this period that he stayed in touch with over the years, and enjoyed sharing stories of some of their exploits.
In their late 70’s, Keith and Lorraine moved to Bozeman, Montana to live near their daughter, Lynn and her family. After Lorraine passed away, Keith moved to Napa, California to live near his son, Steve and his family. Living in Bozeman and then in Napa gave Keith a chance to get to know his grandchildren. He was so proud of all of the grandchildren, and enjoyed hearing about their academic achievements and extracurricular activities.
Keith was a long time Cubs fan, but became a Giants and Warriors fan after he moved to California. Keith loved to golf, and enjoyed the sport up until his health declined in 2020. He was an avid reader, with books on the Civil War and Lincoln being his favorites. Late in life Keith took up bocce ball and enjoyed the tournaments and new friends at the Napa senior center. He was a Mason and a member of the Elks Lodge in Napa.
Keith and his beloved friend Shirley Evans (an honorary member of the Cardey family) enjoyed many activities together, including travel, bridge, dinners, parties and sporting events. Shirley, a fabulous cook, made many fine meals that Keith loved to talk about. The family is grateful to this special person, who brought so much joy to Keith’s life.
Everyone who knew Keith thought he was a first class individual. As Shirley noted, he epitomized the word “gentleman”. He never complained about the years of caring for his wife after her severe illness, or his own declining health. And Keith lived by his motto “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it”.
Keith is survived by his son, Dr. Steven Cardey (wife Andrea), daughter Lynn Cardey-Yates (husband Mark Yates), grandchildren Kevin, Lauren, Jennifer and Brendan Cardey and Max Yates, brother Dennis Cardey (wife Lucetta), and many nieces and nephews.
Private grave side services with military honors will be held at Van Buren Cemetery, Potosi, Wisconsin. A celebration of Keith’s life will be planned when conditions around the country are safe for a gathering of family and friends. Martin Schwartz Funeral Home & Crematory in Potosi is assisting the family.