Betty Keith – Remembered with Admiration
Betty Louise Heuck Keith was born in Nampa, ID on December 14, 1939 to Dr. Clarence Heuck and Cleo Speicher Heuck. Early on in her life, Clarence passed away and Betty came to know and love renowned long time Nampa physician Dr. Samuel A Swayne (affectionately called “Pappy” by his family) as her father while growing up. While Betty had many interests in life, her top two were Nursing and Horses.
As a horse lover her experience began early. Betty enjoyed riding horses and spending time in the country at her family’s Walters Ferry acreage riding and exploring the area on horseback. In Betty’s words, at the family ranch a variety of horses led her to experience all things Equine.
Her love of animal husbandry from an early age translated to initial studies in Veterinary Science at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. She met and subsequently married Theodore “Ted” Keith and accepted a new path. Through their 58 years of marriage Betty supported Ted in early career moves to Oregon, Minnesota, and then back to Idaho; her support continued in later years including active involvement in the local El Korah Shrine in Boise. While raising their children Betty was also a student, graduating from Boise State University earning a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing focusing on the OBGYN field.
Betty’s passion continued throughout her life and led to the establishment of her cherished 7K Farms Ranch at Sand Hollow. An avid horse breeder and quarter horse enthusiast, she raised Idaho horses that won World Championship titles; multiple wins and high point honors for her home bred horses became the norm. This two-time Idaho Quarter Horse Breeder of the Year found deep satisfaction in the success of raising a World Champion Halter Stallion, a two-time Reserve World Champion Mare, and being named in the top ten twice at the AQHA World show.
As an RN, Betty was noted for her empathetic bedside manner with those in her care, although she herself seldom heeded her own advice to slow down and rest occasionally. In her career Betty worked at St. Luke’s hospital for eight years and then for the next fifteen years she worked for several Boise OBGYN’s, mostly with Dr. Glenn Weyhrich. Betty considered nursing a very rewarding experience and was grateful for the endearing friendships she formed and held for many years.
Betty held high performance and results standards and did not suffer many fools. Once one passed muster in her eyes Betty was a staunch supporter and ally for life; those that related with her on this level reciprocated that unyielding support and alliance for life as well. Betty was a member of the board of directors of the Sam and Cleo Swayne Charitable Trust at Walters Ferry, a many-time member of the board of directors of the Idaho Quarter Horse Association, Brownie Scout leader, Horse 4H leader, adult council of Jobs Daughters (all three of her daughters became Honored Queen of Jobs Daughters), member of the AQHA, NRA, PEO, and Daughters of the Nile. She regularly played bridge with a group of long -term friends that she enjoyed immensely.
In recent years she admirably dealt with both health and people challenges. She appreciated all the help and support of friends, neighbors (whom she thought of as family) and especially her brother Bruce Swayne’s unyielding support endured throughout. Betty passed away on March 12 at age 83 years 3 months, while at home at 7K Farms Ranch; her wish to remain actively engaged in managing the operation until her end was granted. She was preceded in death by her brother Dan Heuck Sr., Mother Cleo Heuck Swayne, father Dr. Sam Swayne, Dr. Clarence Heuck, and husband Ted Keith.
Betty is survived by her children Heather Keith (Spellman), Heidi Keith (Koontz), Holly Keith (Nachbar), and Gregor Keith along with grandsons Josh, Andrew, Damian and Connor, and granddaughters Sarah, Madison, and Ashlyn.
A visitation will be held at Alsip and Persons Funeral Home in Nampa from 5-7 on Monday, March 20.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Idaho Rescue Mission.
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