Maron E. Keith, 93, of Rochester, died Saturday, July 31, 2021 at Seasons Hospice House. Marion Sanford Keith was born in Washington, D.C. on July 19, 1928, the daughter of Frank Seymour Sanford and Verna Grace Scott Sanford. Her childhood education was by her parents and church, the public schools of Washington, D.C. and the inscriptions on the Federal buildings that graced the city. The family values were education, work, love of country and respect for others. As a teenager in wartime Washington (WWII) the war effort was a significant influence on her. Young people were needed to replace the government workers who had left for the military forces, and her first summer job at 16 was typing checks at the U.S. Government Department of the Treasury. She also volunteered cutting and folding bandages for the Red Cross. She graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1946 and entered college that year when vast numbers of returning veterans entered under the G. I. Bill. She graduated from American University with a BA in English in 1950 and entered Stanford University in the Department of English Creative Writing Program in 1951.
At her father's illness in 1953 she returned to Washington and worked at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. At that time she met Alexander (Sandy) Keith who was in the U.S. Marine Corps Officer Training Program (boot camp) at Quantico, Virginia and they became engaged. He was ordered to Korea in 1954 and returned in 1955, and they were married on April 29 in Washington, D.C. He entered employment in his Minnesota hometown of Rochester in the Mayo Clinic legal department and Rochester became home for them for over 65 years. They were saddened by the loss of their firstborn newborn son Peter Sanford Keith (August 9th - 12th, 1956), but in time were blessed with two sons Ian Alexander Keith( November 14, 1957) and Douglas Scott Keith (April 3, 1960). As a Mom of sons she usually saw as risks what they saw as adventures, but they made it through with luck and love, and she often said, " First I had a girlhood and then I got to have two boyhoods." She had a place in her heart for their boyhood friends and their parents and the babysitters, teachers and sport coaches who helped her channel her sons' childhood strivings.
Her husband's election at a young age as a Minnesota State Senator and then as Lt. Governor drew her into a more public life than she might otherwise have had. She admired those who could stand in the spotlight, but also those, less recognized, who "hold things together." An interest in early American history, design and architecture drew her to volunteer with others in Rochester interested in historic preservation in cooperation with the resident merchants in the restoration of historic Third Street SW, Heritage House in Central Park and later in the 1982 Save the Chateau effort. She loved Improvement. Anything anyone did to improve anything gave her joy.
During her husband's career as a candidate for governor and an appointed and elected Associate Justice and then Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, she served in her words "where needed," including the Governor's Residence Council and a State child and maternal health committee and filled out an unexpired term on the State Universities (State Colleges) Board.
For many years in Rochester she served on the Mayo Clinic's Human Studies Committee (Institutional Review Board), and for 20 years owned and operated a downtown gift shop. For 50 years her life was enriched by her beloved Study Club in which she enjoyed three generations of memorable friendships and shared learning. She appreciated the countless number of people who helped her along her path of life and was always aware of the military sacrifices of those past and present who gave her an American life. Family, friends and freedom of mind were important to her. As with most grandparents, grandchildren were the sparkles at the tip of the wand. Of grandchildren Sean Keith, Ingrid, Ingemar and Andreas Hagan-Keith, she often said, "you light up my life." Her love extended to her several unforgettable canine family members.
The family thanks those special people who over the years made it possible to live in our wonderful Rochester country home as well as the health care givers who assisted her in her later years.
She is survived by her sons Ian (Gail) and Douglas (Mei), grandchildren and her sister Shirley Sanford Taylor.
A memorial service for Marion and her beloved husband A.M. "Sandy" Keith will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, September 25th with a visitation beginning at 10 a.m. at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes, 5421 Royal Place NW, Rochester, MN 55901.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Homes for Our Troops.
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Keith family; to share a special memory or condolence please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com
Rochester, MN 55901
Rochester, MN 55901