Dean L. Keil


(Aug. 25, 2004)

Dean L. Keil, 83, of Broadus, Mont., died in Powell Wednesday, Aug. 25.

He was born Jan. 2, 1921, in Belgrade, Mont., son of George W. and Kate (Meliza) Keil. He grew up and attended school in Belgrade, graduating from high school in 1938. He attended Montana State College in Bozeman and graduated in 1942 with a B. S. degree in Agriculture. While at MSC he was enrolled in Army ROTC and received a commission as 2nd Lieutenant and went directly into the U.S. Army upon graduation.

He married Betty Waite, of Broadus in Bozeman on Jan. 31, 1943.

He served with the 28th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division, Antitank Company. The 8th Division was sent to Northern Ireland in December, 1943 to prepare for the invasion of Hitler's Fortress Europe. The division landed on Utah Beach on July 4, 1944, 28 days after D-Day. They went immediately to the front line near LaHaye-du-Puit, Normandy and participated in the breakout from the Normandy beachhead in late July, 1944, and the liberation of Brittany in August, 1944.

The 8th Division participated in several more campaigns in Germany and on VE day was near the city of Shwerin, Germany, close to the Baltic Sea. He left the continent of Europe on July 4, 1945 to return to the U.S. where he was reunited with his bride and young son, whom he had not yet seen.

The war fortunately ended before the 8th Division was shipped to the Pacific Theatre, and the young couple moved to Broadus, Mont., where he worked for Betty's parents, W. T. and Nell Waite, on their ranch on the East Fork of the Little Powder River. A second son was born in 1947 and in that same year Dean and Betty moved to Powderville, Mont., and purchased the ranch of Harry Brown, where they made their home until 1988. Dean and Betty had purchased the Markos ranch at Powderville, and they moved there in 1988 when they sold the Brown ranch.

He was preceded in death by Betty, his wife of 57 years in April of 2000, by his parents, and by two brothers, Nolan F. Keil and Bill Keil.

He is survived by two sisters, Zola Fechter of Belgrade, and Nell Reel of Bozeman; two sons, William D. Keil (Mary Beth) of Powell, and Bruce L. Keil (Barbara) of Bismarck, N.D; five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at the First Baptist Church, Broadus, Mont., on Sept. 18, 2004 at 1 p.m. followed by interment of the ashes at the Boothill Cemetery at Powderville.

Memorials may be given to Clydehurst Christian Ranch, 802 N. 27th St., Billings, MT 59101 or to the Powder River Historical Society, Broadus, Mont.