A respected member of Skeptics passed away at the Hampton Court Rest Home at Taradale, napier, on 29 September last year.

Keith was born in Napier in 1922 and was at school when the big quake of 1931 struck. Among his souvenirs was the unused portion of the bus ticket his mother had given him with which to return home on that fateful day. Possibly then, at the age of eight, the shaking of physical foundations sowed seeds of doubt in his mind regarding the spiritual dogmas existing at the time. However, if anyone epitomised Voltaire’s dictum, “I disagree with what you say, but would defend to the death your right to say it,” it would be Keith. This was also emphasised by Wayne Church of the Hawkes Bay Freethinkers during his address at Keith’s funeral at which Nick Pullar of Rationalists also gave a very fitting and moving tribute.

Keith served in Italy during the latter stages of World War II and developed an attraction for things Italian, be it art, music, history but above all, the engineering skills of the Italians. He was a founding member of the Hawkes Bay University of the Third Age and set up the Italian Language class for that group. Keith was a regular attender at Skeptics conferences and when he travelled to them, a well-thumbed copy of the works of Robert Ingersoll always accompanied him and served as his lunch-stop reading on the way. Keith had also widely read the works of John M. Robertson, Joseph McCabe and Bertrand Russell.

A member of the NZ Rationalists, he served on their council from 1990 to 1994 and was made a Life Member in 1997.

Fittingly, acknowledging his affinity for things Italian and his feeling for the underdog, his casket was carried from the hall to the strains of the Slaves’ Chorus from Verdi’s opera, “Nabucco”.

Those who knew him will remember Keith as a philosopher, historian, social commentator but mainly as a good friend whose conversation and wit gave people in widely varying fields many enjoyable and rewarding hours.

Keith is survived by his son Chris in Melbourne and daughters Ann (Auckland) and Rosalie (Texas) and seven grandchildren.

Doug Taylor

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