CHARLESTON -- Dr. Richard L. Keiter, age 79 of Charleston, passed away on Friday, January 19, 2018 at his home. Visitation will be held from 4:00-6:30 pm on Friday, January 26 at Adams Funeral Chapel. A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, January 27 at 2:00 pm at Adams Funeral Chapel. Burial will be private. It is requested that in lieu of flowers, thoughtful donations in his honor be made to the Richard L. & Ellen A. Keiter Undergraduate Research Fellowship at Eastern Illinois University, or to a charity of the donor’s choice. Gifts may be left at the visitation or service or mailed in care of Adams Funeral Chapel, 2330 Shawnee Dr., Charleston, IL 61920.
Richard was born on January 10, 1939 near Winchester, Virginia, a son of the late George Alvin and Irene Louise Funkhouser Keiter. He married Ellen A. Paulson on August 28, 1966 in Minnesota. In addition to his wife of 51 years, he is survived by a son, Eric Keiter and wife Christina Yovovich of Albuquerque, New Mexico; a daughter, Lise Keiter of Staunton, Virginia; a grandson, Thorfin Keiter of Albuquerque, New Mexico; a sister, Betty Keiter Hess of Winchester, Virginia; two brothers, Jack Keiter and wife Helen of Reston, Virginia; and Robert Keiter and wife Gloria of Winchester, Virginia; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Thomas Allen Keiter.
Richard studied one year at Shenandoah College and earned a B.S. in Chemistry at Shepherd College. He went on to earn an M.S. from West Virginia University, and a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Maryland. This was followed by two years of postdoctoral work at Iowa State University. He joined the faculty of Eastern Illinois University in 1969 and retired as Distinguished Professor Emeritus in 2007. During this period he also held visiting professorships at the University of Exeter in England, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Illinois, Colorado State University, and the University of Washington.
Always dedicated to mentoring students both in the classroom and in research, Richard touched the lives of countless undergraduate and graduate students, many of whom became coauthors of professional publications and went on to their own distinguished careers. Throughout his long career, he published more than 50 articles in national and international chemistry journals, and he and his wife Ellen also coauthored (with Jim Huheey) the highly-regarded textbook Inorganic Chemistry: Principles of Structure and Reactivity. He also received many awards and honors, including the Lawrence A. Ringenberg Award at Eastern Illinois University and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Scholar/Fellow Award. He was also elected to serve on the Council of Undergraduate Research, and in 2013, he received the prestigious honor of being named American Chemical Society Fellow.
While he continued to be active in research and publishing even after retirement, he also had a passion for family genealogy and more broadly in history and biography, and he sustained close connections with family, long-time friends, and former students. He will be fondly remembered for his unique combination of creativity, humor, and warmth by his family, friends, colleagues, and students.