Keith Gordon Nesbit

November 20, 1941November 12, 2020

Captain, Royal Canadian Navy, (Ret’d), November 20, 1941 – November 12, 2020 of lung cancer.

Predeceased by his father, Captain Francis Gordon Nesbit (British Merchant Navy) and mother Olive, of Newcastle, England.

He held the nationalities of the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Keith Nesbit was raised in the UK and western Canada, to where his family emigrated in 1951. He attended schools in Oak Bay, British Columbia and in 1960 joined the RCN’s VENTURE Training Plan. From 1962, upon commissioning, he served in Canadian frigates, destroyers and – principally - submarines. While at port in Honolulu in 1965, Keith met Joan E. Mullin, and two years later they married in San Francisco. Their family of five children followed, and were thereafter referred to as, “The Blessings”.

In 1975, having passed the Royal Navy’s infamous “Perisher” course, he commanded Canada’s newest submarine, HMCS Okanagan, and subsequently was Commander, First Canadian Submarine Squadron.

His last tour of duty was at SACLANT Headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, after which he and Joan retired in Virginia Beach. Keith considered his 36 years of Naval service to have been a break in a musical career. Having performed in Victoria, B.C. as a jazz/rock pianist-organist in the 1950’s, he resumed that career in Hampton Roads. He has since performed in many local venues, in solo and multi-instrument roles. He performed at Norfolk’s famed Painted Lady restaurant for eleven years, with Chespeake’s Word Alive Christian Center for eighteen years, and was accompanist to popular local jazz vocalist Becky Livas since 2012.

Keith was grateful for the strength which can be provided by a close-knit, loving family, and that strength was most evident during the 5 months he had to face the challenges posed by lung cancer. He is survived by his loving wife, Joan, five children: K.G., Paul, Barry, Shivonne, and Meghan; seven grandchildren: Liam, Fiona, Johannah, Seamus, Amelia, Sophia, and Kaela; and three daughters-in-law: Stephanie, Christine and Tara. He is also survived by an older sister, Valerie, a younger brother, Rod and his wife, Val, and a brother-in-law, Michael Mullin.

Keith wished to express his sincere thanks for having had the opportunity to serve proudly with so many Canadian and international submariners, and for the wonderful encouragement and support he received from many fine Hampton Roads musicians.

A family-oriented Celebration of Life will be scheduled at a future date.



No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
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Patricia Campbell

December 1, 2020

It took me some time to be able to reconciled that fact, that I will not see nor work with Keith again! For the past 16-17 years I have had the pleasure to explore a journey of Gospel Music with Keith. Although on the surface some may say we were opposites, Keith so trained and my go with the flow vibe. Keith being so composed and me ready to dance or be playful at a drop of a dime. Yet we binded through the journey that God had assigned for us to walk together. Learning Gospel music, first for ourselves and then teaching and sharing with others. When we first started this was a first for the both of us, newbies as some may say. Hearing the words from him, that the Praise Team “was on a roll" or “when your hot you're hot" brought a big smile on my face! Even the times when I wanted to run through the song again, Keith would say, “I think you should leave it alone” and I would run the song again and Keith would oblige. Over the years working with Keith has been my pleasure and I will most definitely Miss Him!!! Through this connection I got a chance to meet Joan and all of his children and a few of his grandchildren. To Keith’s family my sincerest Condolences!!! Only God knows what Keith meant to me and my family and only God can comfort Us All. I pray Peace and Comfort. AMEN!...Trish from Word Alive Christian Center

Mara Bates

November 24, 2020

My condolences to the entire family. May Keith's memory live long in your hearts and souls. May you know he is in a better place and enjoying music with a huge smile on his face. Love, Mara

Tim Strouts

November 21, 2020

Dear Joan and Family, Thank you for giving Evelyn and me the sad nes of Keith's death. I knew Keith from when I joined HMCS Ojibwa in February 1971. He was a treasured friend and mentor then and since.
Others have mentioned his many talents and kindnesses but one that noone, I think, has mentioned is his brillant technical drawing.the Submariners among you will appreciate the brilliance of his 3D drawing of Ojibwa's engineroom pipework. The for'ard part of it was not called the"snake pit" for nothing; I was stunned by it. A true Submariner.

Keith, we love you and will miss you.

Margaret & Paul Therrien

November 20, 2020

Our condolences to Joan and the family. We were privileged to share a wonderful vacation in Tokyo with Keith and Joan a few years back. When Keith discovered that my (Margaret) father had been the Admiral during Keith's command of the O-boat he found this most humorous. We shared many stories and much laughter over this connection.
Later that year we enjoyed a wonderful evening with Keith and Joan at their lovely Virginia Beach home - we so appreciated experiencing and sharing Keith's love of music during that visit.

Nancy Curleigh

November 20, 2020

Dear Joan.
I was saddened to read of Keith’s passing. It has been a very long time time since our paths have crossed. Virginia is a wonderful place to retire which undoubtedly brought you great joy. We started our family in Virginia Beach (3 boys). Cherish the fond memories of happy times shared.
In fondness and prayers.
Nancy Curleigh
Parrsboro, Nova Scotia

Darlene Wyss

November 19, 2020

Dear Joan and family,

It is with profound sadness to hear of Keith's passing. My heart goes out to you all with deepest condolences in your time of grief. He will be missed terribly.

The Canadian Submarine Community has lost great men this year... among them are, Buster, my Terry and now Keith. They are up there sharing a good time, a good laugh and a beverage while looking down on us pushing us to be strong and to get on with life.

Just know I'm thinking of you as we all muddle on without them.
Stay safe.

With my heartfelt sympathy,

Jenny & Colin Wright

November 19, 2020

So sorry to hear such sad news. I was just Listening a few days ago to one of KEITH’s CDs. With what is going on at the moment it was very soothing and actually very reassuring.
I have rather nice photos of Keith playing at home during a lovely dinner party. As I remember we enjoyed the “performance “ very very much.
Jenny and Colin

Alexsa & Bill Benson

November 19, 2020

Dear Joan and Family, Our hearts are broken but our memories are so dear. We will cherish our times together forever. With sincere condolences and also hugs, Alexsa & Bill Benson

Alex Murdoch

November 18, 2020

I met Keith on his first day of school at Willows Elementary in Victoria BC, shortly after his arrival in Canada, and we remained friends through high school and his early days at Venture, sometimes playing music together. We then both moved away in pursuit of careers and did not stay in touch, though we met once or twice at reunions.

I have vivid memories of him as the lead in a grade-school play around 1952, and swinging jazz piano [and sometimes singing!] at the old Club Tango in Oak Bay around 1959. He was a great guy with an enviable musical talent. My condolences to his family.

Paula Skippon

November 18, 2020

Dear Mrs. Nesbit:

I was very sad to learn of Keith’s recent death in our local paper, the Victoria Times Colonist. You will not know me, but I had the pleasure to work with Keith in the Policy Group in National Defence in Ottawa in the late 80’s. In fact, one of my treasured possessions is a framed plaque of dolphins which he presented to me as an “Honorary Submariner”. Keith was a man of many talents, and taught me a lot about the Navy world, and the life of a submariner. I remember his stories – especially the daunting Perisher course – with amazement.
My sincerest condolences to you and to your family.

Paula Skippon, Victoria, BC


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