Darrell Alwin Keim, formerly of Annawan, IL, 91, passed away January 11, 2020, at Toulon Healthcare Center, Toulon. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, January 20, 2020, at Fairview United Methodist Church, rural Annawan. Reverend Peg Emmett will officiate. Inurnment will be at Fairview United Methodist Cemetery. Military Honors will be accorded following the service. Visitation will be held from 10 – 11 a.m. on Monday, at the church. Cremation rites have been accorded. Vandemore Funeral Homes & Crematory – Atkinson Chapel, is assisting the family with arrangements. Memorials may be made to Fairview United Methodist Church, Toulon Healthcare Center Alzheimer’s Unit, or Annawan-Alba Rescue.
Darrell was born in the Annawan area on December 2, 1928, to Fred W. Keim and Agnes (Ford) Keim. He graduated from Annawan High School in 1946. He graduated from Coyne Electrical School of Technology, Chicago, IL 1947. He worked in the area with a radio and appliance dealer, while assisting on the family farm until he was called to serve in the Armed Forces.
Beginning in 1951, he served proudly in the Armed Service Forces, 349th Transportation Corp. He earned certificates in welding and stevedore classifications. He sailed to Thule, Greenland to serve with the 373rd. T.M.P. DET. No.3. He earned the Royal Order of the Blue Nose for serving our nation for several months above the Arctic Circle. Returning home from military service, he began farming in rural Annawan, Cornwall Township. He married Charlene C. Parker on April 26, 1953, at the then Fairview Evangelical United Brethren Church, Annawan, IL.
After farming for five years, he had a great working career that included Midland Electric Coal Company over the next seven years. He worked at both the Atkinson tipple facility as a welder and the Victoria mine. He helped build the largest electric strip mine coal shovel in the United States at that time. When the mine closed, he went to work for John Deere & Co. Moline, IL. He worked as a certified maintenance welder, capable of welding high-pressure pipes, and later became a maintenance millwright. He served in the Plow and Planter and Central Cylinder facilities. He retired after 24 ½ years, from what is now, the Seeding Division in Moline.
Darrell was a very civic-minded individual. He was a lifelong member of Fairview United Methodist Church. He held positions of Sunday School Superintendent, Administrative Board Chairman, Finance & Audit committee chairmanships, trustee, and head trustee. He joined the Annawan Kiwanis Club in 1978. He held several officer positions through the years and was awarded the outstanding leadership and citizen of the year in 1985 and again in 1995. He enjoyed participating in club activities, which included “Pancake Day,” “Annawan Fun Day,” and other fundraising projects. The financial assistance was used for the Cub Scouts, schools, teachers, and numerous other local charities. Darrell was a charter member of the “Friends of the Round Barn” that worked for the restoration, upkeep, and tours of the barn, which is located at Johnson Sauk Trail State Park. He worked tirelessly to give tours and would schedule his later life around the volunteer tour schedule. He was a member of the Henry County Genealogical Society.
Darrell enjoyed traveling and spent time exploring our nation's many wonders, and crisscrossing the country to visit children and relatives. He was an advocate for the Red Cross and had given over 20 gallons of blood through local area blood drives, in support of our troops and area blood banks.
His hobbies were numerous and included metalworking, woodworking, photography, gardening, fruit trees, and roses. He loved providing the birds and squirrels with winter food and housing. He created many personal inventions to make life easier. Darrell installed one of the area’s first active solar systems to heat his house and hot water in 1983. It continues to work to this day.
Darrell is survived by his wife of 66.7 years, Charlene, Annawan; sons, Dennis, Springfield, OR, and Michael (Beth) Port Byron, IL; daughter, Deborah (William) Salmond, Rock Hill, SC; brother, Ronald (Mary), Moline, IL; sister, Marilyn Nielsen, Geneseo, IL; four grandchildren, James (Ashley) Keim, Carmel, IN, Sarah (Justin) Williams, Romeoville, IL, Amy Salmond, Rock Hill, SC, and Ivan Salmond, Rock Hill, SC; and two great-grandchildren, Wesley Keim and Ella Keim, Carmel, IN.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and four brothers, Dwain, Harold, F. Hayden, and Marvin.
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