Keith Vander Wilt

A Celebration of Life for Keith Vander Wilt, 70, of Jefferson, will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27 at the Performing Arts Center at the Greene County High School. Attendees should use the south doors of the Greene County High School.

Additionally, the Celebration of Life will be live-streamed. Live streaming will begin a few minutes prior to the start of the Celebration of Life.  You do not need a password.  Click the link below to connect to the Slininger-Schroeder Face Book page.

Following the Celebration of Life, the family will visit with relatives and friends in the High School Commons. Refreshments will be served.

Memorials to honor Keith may be directed to the Vander Wilt family, and will be designated at a later time. Cards and memorials may be left at Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home, Jefferson. 515-386-2171

 On Aug. 19, 2022, Keith Anton Vander Wilt, loving husband of Beth and father of Heather and Emily, passed away at age 70 at the Greene County Medical Center, after a courageous two months with brain cancer. 

Keith was born on Sept. 30, 1951 in Sheldon to Clifford and Delores (Rouwenhorst) Vander Wilt. Growing up, Keith enjoyed fishing with his dad and playing sports, especially baseball and golf. He graduated from Sheldon High School in 1969. He went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education from Central College in Pella in 1973. His first teaching and coaching job was in Marathon. He then moved to Rolfe where he taught and coached from 1974-1984. In 1984, he accepted a teaching and coaching position in Jefferson where he taught Algebra and Geometry as well as coached varsity girls’ basketball, varsity girls’ softball and varsity boys’ golf, and girls’ golf. It was there in 1986 where he met his future wife, Beth. 1988 was a pivotal year. Rumors that the Geometry teacher and Spanish teacher might be dating were confirmed with the announcement of a marriage proposal on Aug. 8, (8-8-88); Keith always being a numbers guy. They were later married on Nov. 26, 1988. Also in 1988, Keith and his six-player basketball team earned a trip to the Iowa Girls’ State Basketball Tournament. Three years later, in 1991, Coach “KV” brought another team to the state tournament. 

To this union, two daughters were born: Heather and Emily. As a father, Keith loved spending time with his family. Summer family vacations were a tradition beginning when the girls were really young. The entire family enjoyed planning vacations, visiting historical sites and beaches, hiking, shopping, and dining. As a “foodie,” Keith endured many hours of shopping, knowing they would soon be sharing a meal together. In Keith’s role as a father, he supported his daughters’ activities and endeavors with patience and love. Keith encouraged them to seek new adventures, such as studying abroad or sampling new foods. 

Keith positively impacted many students and athletes. He was known for his calmness and sense of humor. Former students and players alike would often be caught off guard by his quick wit. His strategic humor often was his way of getting his message across without raising his voice, changing the behavior or mindset of those involved. He was also known for not taking the easy road, but the road that helped students and athletes learn, improve and achieve their goals. Furthermore, former students remember Mr. Vander Wilt for his kind and caring nature. As one former student shared, “sometimes it’s not just the teacher teaching the subject, but teaching kindness that impacts the students.” Another former student shared, “Despite my actions you still showed me grace that I didn’t deserve. You’ve made such an impact in my life, you really have no idea.”

In 2013, Keith retired from teaching and coaching after 40 years. He continued to substitute teach until 2019. He also worked at The Hill Golf Course in Grand Junction for many years until 2020. Keith developed new hobbies and friendships playing racquetball and participating in the weekly trivia night at Hy-Vee. He was always an avid reader and sports memorabilia collector. Keith also enjoyed being the “commissioner” of a local Fantasy Baseball group (mainly retired teachers) and haggling over each other’s draft picks.  

Keith is survived by his wife Beth, his two daughters, Heather Foote (Joe) and Emily Rohner (Dan), his brothers Brian (Amy) and Dean, and several aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Clifford, and his mother, Delores.

Services by Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home, Jefferson

Contact Us

Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161