William Keith Paskett was born in Oakley, Idaho, on June 10, 1929 to David M. and Winifred Keith Paskett. I am the second son of four, David Keith being the oldest then me, Bill, then a sister Jean and the youngest, John Keith. All the boys had the same middle names, as Keith was their mother’s maiden name.
During their earlier years, the family moved from place to place and I don’t remember too much about those early years. The three oldest were all born in Oakley and John was born in Gannett, Idaho, which was the last place the family lived before moving to Grouse Creek.
About the first thing I remember was when we did move to Grouse Creek from Gannett, Idaho. During the move the truck got stuck in the mud somewhere along the way and I remember Mom making a bed for us kids under the truck to stay out of the rain.
Life in Grouse Creek was quite uneventful. I attended the three room school along with everyone else in the valley and just sort of lived each day at a time. There were seven of us in the same class; myself, Gene Warburton, Burdell Wakefield, Audrey Tanner, Eva Tanner, Juanita Lee and Joy Roberts.
I knew work at a very early age as my dad had worked hard when he was young and he said it never hurt him and it probably wouldn’t hurt us either, and it didn’t. I sometimes think we were better off working the way we did.
The school at Grouse Creek only went to the tenth grade so my parents decided to let us go to Ogden to high school, as we didn’t have a car to travel in and the train was more convenient for us.
Dad couldn’t afford to send us to school so my brother, Dave, and I worked during the summer to put us through school during the winter. We worked for Ernest Kimber contracting hay on various ranches in Nevada for the two Summers prior to going to Ogden to school. That pretty well kept us in school.
I graduated from Ogden High School in June 1947. Then during that summer I went to work for a short time for Ivan Kimber, who owned a ranch in Clover Valley, Nevada. It was here that I first met my future wife, Marian Pyper.
When the work ran out at Ivan’s, my brother Dave and I went to work for the Southern Pacific Railroad as section hands and we were stationed at Holbern, Nevada, which was east of Wells, Nevada. We worked there about two months. We didn’t really care for the foreman. He was a former First Sergeant from the Army and kind of a “blow hard,” so we went to see our cousin, who was also working on the railroad as a signalman at Moore, Nevada, which was between Wells and Holbern. He told us there was a Signal Gang in the area and they were looking for men, so we decided to give it a try.
We worked for the signal gang until January 1951. At that time the Korean war had broken out and I was drafted into military service. I was inducted into the service at Fort Lewis, Washington and then was shipped to Camp Cooke, California where I was assigned to the 747th Amphibious Tank and Tractor Battalion, which was attached to Sixth Army with headquarters in San Francisco, California.
The only time I left Camp Cooke was when they sent me to tractor driving school at the Marine Corps Base at Camp Del Mar, near Oceanside, Calif, for six weeks training. Then for six weeks each year the Battalion trained with the Navy aboard LST’s (Landing Ship, Tank) which was to assume actual invasion tactics. We also spent six weeks at Camp Irwin, California for land tank training. The last two months of my tour they shipped us to Fort Ord for a month, then to Camp Irwin, California, where I was discharged in January of 1953.
During the month of October 1952, two months before I was discharged, I married Marian Pyper in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Not wanting to go back to the railroad and live in a railroad outfit car with my new wife, I decided I’d try a new profession. Radio had always fascinated me so I decided to look into that area. I went to National Trade School in Los Angeles for eighteen months under the GI bill and learned the Radio Television game, after which my first job in electronics was with Standard Coil Products, who manufactured television tuners. I was assigned to the quality control section and made sure everything checked out electrically.
I stayed there about a year and then went to North American Aviation, where I also worked in electronics. I wasn’t sure Aerospace was going to be a steady job so I applied for a job with the City of Los Angeles. I passed the Civil Service test and took a position with the Los Angeles Police Department as a civilian employee working in their communications section. Along with others, it was my responsibility to make sure all transmitters, receivers and the communications dispatch center was working all the time.
When I first started, it was a relatively small town with less than one million people in the city, but when I left, there were more than four million people and we were kept busy just expanding our operations.
I stayed with LAPD for twenty-seven years, then the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power built a power plant in Delta, Utah and was looking for a lead man to handle the communications between LA and Delta and to be stationed in Ely, Nevada. No one in the department wanted the job so I transferred to Water and Power and bid on the job and was assigned to Ely as a Sr. Communications Electrician. The reason no one wanted the job was they were afraid Ely would be like the area of Nevada that is between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, which is nothing but sand and sagebrush. I stayed with LADWP for eleven years, giving me a total of thirty-eight years and one month with the city of Los Angeles. I retired from the city on August 1, 1995.
During the time I was in Ely, I was closer to Grouse Creek so it gave me an opportunity to see the place more often. I had bought Dad’s place earlier and went up nearly every summer and did some remodeling with my son-in-law, Steve Heywood and my daughter, Carol Heywood. I hope to spend more time there as time goes by and maybe use it as a summer home.
During my time in California, we had four children, Carol Joyce, Deborah Ann, Edwin James and Russell Wayne. They all grew up to make their parents very proud. They have also presented us with nineteen grandchildren.
Also during this time in California, I was kept very busy in church activities and was Bishop of Norwalk Ward (later renamed Cerrotos 4th Ward) for six and one half years. I was on the high council for two years before I moved to McGill, Nevada, eleven miles north of Ely.
When I moved to McGill, Nevada, where we now live, I was Bishop for seven years and am currently serving on the High council in the Ely, Nevada Stake.
I have been very fortunate all during my life, as once I left the military, I was never without a job. I loved working at every job I had. During this time I never forgot the lessons I was taught while living at Grouse Creek. I often heard my mother say that Grouse Creek was the best place in the world to raise children. You know, she was right.
Keith was known as a very kind man, enjoyed a good laugh and easily made friends. He never complained about anything or anyone. He learned to work hard and could fix and build anything. The bench where he worked repairing televisions and everything else is still in the family. He loved ice cream and had a bowl of any flavor almost every night when we were younger. He was such a great example of selflessness, humility and gratitude to all around him.
Keith passed away on June 4, 2019.