Walter ‘Keith’ Carstens
Walter “Keith” Carstens, 85, of Holstein, died on Tuesday August 24, 2021 at the Good Samaritan Society of Holstein.
The service will be held at 10:30 am on Friday at Holstein United Methodist Church with Reverend Doresa K. Collogan as officiant. Interment will take place in the Holstein cemetery in Holstein. A visitation will take place from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, with a Masonic service at 7:30 p.m. by Alpine Lodge # 471, from Holstein to Nicklas D. Jensen Funeral Home in Holstein. The family is asking for masks to be worn during visitations and funerals. The Nicklas D. Jensen Funeral Home in Holstein will make the arrangements.
Keith has lived his life to the full. Whether he worked in the garden, tinkered with his store, did odd jobs, mowed gardens and shoveled sidewalks for neighbors, volunteered as a Boy Scout leader, or participated in community organizations, Keith loved to keep busy. But even more, Keith loved spending time with his family. His children remember the family playing board games, camping every weekend in the summer, playing outdoors, driving vacation to visit extended family, swimming, going to the store with him on the Saturday and paint corn houses and nurseries with him to earn money for college.
Her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and “extra grandchildren” share fond memories of fishing, swimming, sledding and high tea, soft drinks and cookies with their grandfather. (Keith loved to drink soda and eat candy!) And after raising their family, Keith and Sylvia spent time together traveling, going to movie nights, volunteering, starting a craft business. and woven lawn chairs and to accommodate the family for summer vacations and working weekends. Keith was always there, always present, for the family.
Walter “Keith” Carstens was born September 27, 1935, to Walter William and Wilma Mae (Ewing) Carstens at their home in Hartington, Neb. Weighing just over two pounds at birth, he spent the first few months of his life at an incubator at a hospital in Yankton, SD. He has been described as a miracle baby in the Nebraska and South Dakota record books. Keith always believed he survived for a reason. He felt there had to be a purpose in his life, and he tried to live with that in mind. As an adult, he carried a card in his wallet, printed with a paraphrased excerpt from a Forest Witcraft essay on being important in a child’s life.
Keith’s strong work ethic and dedication to family began to develop at a young age. When Keith was 14, his father passed away, and as the older brother of three sisters and one brother, Keith did what he could to help his mother and grandfather with the family, working in the local cinema until he graduated from Hartington High. School in 1953. Keith then went to college overseeing and managing a swimming pool in Pender, New Brunswick, and working in the college cafeteria, where he met Sylvia. He received his BA plus 30 hours for his MA from Wayne State Teachers College, from which he graduated in 1957.
Keith was married to Sylvia Ann Konopik on December 27, 1956 in Bancroft, Neb. The births of their four children, Deb, Linda, Pam and Mike, quickly followed.
In 1957 Keith started his first and what turned out to be his only job as a teacher. He taught industrial arts and driver training in the Holstein Community School District, where hundreds of young men and women learned drawing techniques, electrical skills, how to build a grandfather clock or a purse. in wood, or how to drive a shifter under Keith’s direction. He retired from teaching in 1997.
Keith has dedicated his life to volunteering and being active in the community. He was a 50-year member of Masonic Alpine Lodge # 471 as well as the Order of the Eastern Star, and has held numerous positions in both organizations over the years. He was a founding member of Holstein Kiwanis and held numerous positions with the local club in addition to serving as District 5 District Lieutenant Governor for two terms. Keith has been involved in the Holstein Scouting program for 60 years, winning numerous awards as a Adult Scout, including the highest honor, the Silver Beaver, and serving as a Webelos Leader for 40 years. He was a member of the Holstein Heritage Foundation (Country Schoolhouse Museum). Keith was also an active and volunteer member of the Holstein United Methodist Church.
Keith passed away peacefully after a brief attack of pneumonia and deteriorating health from Parkinson’s disease. During the last years of her life, Sylvia was her devoted caretaker, allowing her to live happily in their home until the last month of her life. Keith left a legacy of love and many fond memories for his family.
Keith is survived by his wife, Sylvia; four children, Deb Haase and her partner Steve, Linda Carstens and her partner Randy Petersburg, Pam Carstens and Mike Carstens and his wife Deborah Svec-Carstens; grandchildren, Ezra and Kate Haase, Michael and Jessica Haase, Liz and Chris Sterie, David and Rachel Haase and Paul Haase; great-grandchildren, Gwen, Gavin, Emma, Griffin, Brynn and Bria; sister, Jan Murray; brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, LaVerle Miller, Joyce and Jim Hunziker, Bill Konopik and Vicki Tripp, and Bonnie Riggins; niece Laura Riggins, who considered Keith a grandfather; and several other nieces and nephews.
His parents died before him; sisters, Donna Miller and Kay Bakken; brother, William “Bill” Carstens; stepfather and stepmother, Lumir and Lillian Konopik; and brothers-in-law, Leo Murray and Alvin Konopik.
The family would like to thank the staff of the Good Samaritan Society in Holstein, the staff of the Cherokee Regional Hospice, the staff of the Horn Memorial Hospital in Ida Grove and the Holstein Fire and Ambulance volunteers for their care and compassion during the Keith’s disease. The family would also like to thank Nicklas D. Jensen Funeral Home in Holstein for taking care of the funeral arrangements and for all of their help, patience and kindness, and Pastor Dori for presiding over the service and for his spiritual leadership.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Holstein Fire and Ambulance and the Holstein United Methodist Church. Unspecified donations will be distributed to these two organizations and used to purchase materials for the new industrial technology program at the school where Keith taught for 40 years.
Published by the Sioux City Journal on October 17, 2021.