Gordon Leroy Keiser
September 13, 1923 – January 8, 2020
GORDON L. KEISER
Gordon Leroy Keiser was born on September 13, 1923 in a small town just outside of Detroit, Michigan, the second oldest of seven children. Like most families at the time, his family struggled during the Great Depression. At one time, his mother and father, along with his brothers and sisters, all had to move into his grand-father’s small house just to survive. To help out his family, Gordon, about 12 years old at the time, went out and got a job selling newspapers. He was one of those newsboy kids on a street corner yelling, “Extra, extra, read all about it.”
Later, World War II broke out, and, like many young Americans, he enlisted. In his case, it was in the Air Force wing of the Army and he served his country honorably as a radio repair technician. His job was to help fix up and test the radios on the military airplanes and get them ready to be sent overseas.
In 1944, while still in the service, and stationed in Columbus, Ohio, he met a young waitress at a coffee shop named Marcella and swore to friends he had just met the woman he was going to marry. Indeed, they did get married in September of 1944. Shortly after the war ended in 1945, Gordon and Marcella moved to California to start their new life together.
In Los Angeles, California, Marcella got a job as a dental technician, and shortly thereafter, Gordon, always an artistic type at heart, got his own job in the same field at a separate dental lab. They worked at their jobs for awhile, and in 1950, they had their first son, Stanley. A few years later, in 1954, they had their second son, Grant.
A few years later, Gordon and the family moved to the San Fernando Valley, and there, he and Marcella hatched their idea of one day owning their own dental lab business. Later, around the year 1958, Gordon bought out the owner of the lab he was working at and started Gordon Keiser Dental Lab, which became quite successful for the net 30 or so years. During some of those years, Gordon, always a lover of baseball, pulled himself away from his business for several hours per week, and coached or managed many of the Little League teams that his two sons played on.
Gordon and Marcella were living the American Dream – owning their own home, owning their own successful business, raising their family – when in 1983, a crisis hit. Marcella was found to have a terminal form of cancer, while at the same time, Gordon was found to have the three main arteries to his heart nearly completely blocked. Gordon survived, thanks to a new procedure that was just getting started at the time called an angioplasty, but Marcella died in October of 1983 from that cancer.
Gordon took his cardiac rehabilitation very seriously and recovered from the heart issues. Later on, in 1984, he met Betty, and they dated for awhile until getting married in 1985. Betty was a great influence on Gordon, convincing him to exercise a lot, watch his diet and stay healthy, but she also encouraged him to pursue his lifelong creative dream of being an artist. Betty was always a painter before they met, but she really helped unleash Gordon’s artistic creativity, and from then on, he pretty much painted nearly every day for the rest of his life.
Gordon decided to retire from the dental lab business in 1988, and was able to paint more often and also to travel extensively with Betty throughout the world, including travels to Spain, Israel, Cozumel, Panama, Alaska and Mexico. During their time together, they also became involved with the Vineyard Church in Reseda, and volunteered to go on missionary trips to an orphanage in Oaxaca, Mexico. Gordon donated much of his dental lab’s equipment to the orphanage after he retired so the orphanage could set up their own dental lab.
Sadly, Betty developed cancer and died in the first few days of January of 2000. Gordon later met Sabina on a blind date that ended up lasting 19 years. They were married in July of 2001 and stayed in Reseda for a few years before deciding to move to Palm Springs in 2005.
Gordon lived the retirement life in Palm Springs, and wisely used the opportunity as a chance to really plunge into his passion of painting. He turned one of the rooms in the house into an artist’s studio and had the most prolific artistic period of his life, where he would paint nearly every day for many years. All told, he would paint well over 300 different paintings.
He also continued pursuing his love of bowling and golf. He stayed active in a Palm Springs bowling league and he belonged to a get together golfing group that would allow him to meet up with his son Grant and golf once a month for several years. He stopped both the bowling and the golf in about 2016, when he felt he could neither see well enough or could not physically go through the sports any more. On his 94th birthday, his son Grant took him to a Palm Springs golf course’s putting green just to feel what it was like to golf again. He holed out about a 50 foot putt and decided right then and there to end his golfing career on a high note.
Gordon took it really easy his last few years, as his heart issues from 1983 seemed to flare up again. He would often sit down on his favorite chair with Sabina and just relax and watch their big screen TV. Finally, on January 8th of 2020, his heart finally gave out and he passed away with his son Grant by his side. He was 96 years old. He had spent over 70 years being married to three loving and caring women. His life had spanned, and he had witnessed most of the modern history of the United States. He had lived in parts of ELEVEN DECADES! Gordon Leroy Keiser lived a very full life.
- Graveside Service Saturday, January 25, 2020
- Reception Saturday, January 25, 2020
Gordon Leroy Keiser
January 25, 2020
I am very sad and disappointed to not be able to attend the funeral to celebrate my Grandpa Gordon's life, as I live in Berlin, Germany and it was too far to travel. After my father passed away in 2005 (Stan Keiser, Gordon's oldest son), I decided I wanted to see more of the world like my grandpas did, to inspire me and give me new perspectives. The last time I saw Grandpa Gordon in Nov. 2018, I was so lucky to have discovered that in addition to the beautiful landscapes and nature paintings he did, he also had a rich collection of nudes which he sketched / painted during the 90's when he took classes with Betty. He let me take 3 sketchbooks full! I have framed many of them and put them up in my home in Berlin, as well as given a few away as presents for friends. I am very dedicated to preserving his memory and the beauty he created and would love to meet with any interested collaboratorators when I visit Los Angeles in April 2020. Sending you all my love and beautiful memories of my wonderful Grandpa, Danielle Keiser (firstname.lastname@example.org)
January 15, 2020
Hello, This is Sharlene Butler. I'm Dale Keiser's daughter. I just wanted to say I have fond memories of my visits to California when we would visit Uncle Gordon. Prayers, peace and love to the family. God Bless, Sharlene
January 15, 2020
I only met Gordon as a young boy while visiting my grandparents in Colorado. I remember he was friendly and had a big smile. I know my father, Dale was proud of his older brother. Dad & Mom took a few trips to California to see Gordon and had a great time. When they had phone conversaton I could see pleasure on my Dads face.
Our condolences to Grant and your family. Dennis & Pandora Keiser