We’ve Moved! 400 Hammond Road West

Gary Keyes

October 4, 1949 - June 15, 2018
Cedar, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Gary Kent Keyes, 68, passed away unexpectedly at his home in Elmwood Township on June 15th. He was born in Traverse City on October 14, 1949 to Robert and Patricia (Garthe) Keyes. He was preceded in death by both parents, and is survived by his son, William Shelp of Royal Oak, MI, brother Jack, one niece Leah (Keyes) Meyer and one nephew T.J. Keyes all of Traverse City, and several cousins. Gary graduated from Traverse City High School in 1967 and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Michigan.

Gary will long be remembered for his larger-than-life free-spirit, as a man who experienced life’s pleasures on his own terms, and spoke his mind on most every subject. He collected friends and acquaintances far and wide and will locally be remembered for his voice from the Traverse City Commission’s public gallery where he often argued his point.

Behind the scene, he was a gifted photographer, an avid outdoorsman, and lover of nature. Since childhood, he had a special love for beagles and enjoyed their howls on the trail of a rabbit. He was a diehard fan of jazz and blues, and a dangerous harmonica player. He enjoyed attending local and regional music festivals and concerts, and often traveled to New Orleans for the annual Jazz and Blues Festival. He generously gave to those less fortunate and shared the bounty of his large gardens with many. Gary was a long-time supporter of WNMC Radio and rarely missed an NMC BBQ. He was a kind and spiritual man who attended Traverse Bay United Methodist Church.

Cremation has taken place and a private memorial gathering will be held at a later date.

For those wishing to make a donation in Gary’s memory, please consider WNMC Radio, 1701 E. Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49686, or Traverse Bay United Methodist Church, 1200 Ramsdell Street, Traverse City, MI 49684. Please visit www.lifestorytc.com to sign the guest book and share your thoughts and memories with the family. The family chose Life Story Funeral Home, Traverse City.