Keith E. Roe, 79, formerly of Williams, Iowa, passed away at home surrounded by his family in Vestal, New York on May 10, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Eunice Roe, of Vestal; son, Eric Roe, Reston, VA; daughter, Susan Roe Andersen, and son-in-law Eric Andersen, Cortez, CO. He is also survived by his sister, Elsie Baumann, Ames, IA; sister-in-law, June Roe, Webster City, IA; nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Keith was born August 25, 1937 on a farm southwest of Williams, IA to James and Martha Vespestad Roe. He was predeceased by his parents; aunt, Elizabeth Vespestad, who lived with the family; sister, Grace, and brother-in-law, Benard Huisman; brothers, James Roe and Raymond Roe; and brother-in-law, David Baumann.
After graduating from Iowa State University in 1960, Keith served in the U.S. Army, after which he attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He received his doctorate in systematic botany in 1969. Later, he received his degree in library science from the University of Oregon. He retired from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2002 after serving as Associate Director of Libraries from 2000-2002 and Head of the Science Library from 1990-2000. He also served as Head of the Life Sciences Library at Penn State University from 1977-1990.
Keith authored botanical articles on Solanum and books on theoretical concepts in biology and alternation of generations in plants. During his career, he was involved in the early use of computers in libraries and wrote on library management. He was also especially interested in rural vernacular buildings and in 1988 published Corncribs in History, Folklife and Architecture. He continued documenting the rural buildings built by his father in central Iowa and writing family history.
Keith bought his first camera in 1955 and had a lifelong interest in photography. He greatly enjoyed spending time with his family and hiking in national parks and reserves. He also enjoyed woodworking, gardening and baking.
The visitation will be held on Friday, May 19, from 4:00-7:00 pm at Foster Funeral and Cremation Center, 800 Willson Ave., Webster City, IA. Burial will be on Saturday, May 20, at 11:00 am at Rose Grove Cemetery, southwest of Williams, IA.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial donations to The Prairie Enthusiasts, P.O. Box 824, Viroqua, WI 54665, or Rose Grove Cemetery, c/o Robert and Shirley Hansel, 2680 Vail Ave., Williams, IA 50271.
Write a personal tribute for the family at www.fosterfuneralandcremation.com.
Dear Eunice....for the many memories from here in NJ and in Vestal....I am thankful for knowing and spending time with Keith.
So sorry for your loss.
I am sorry to hear the sad news about Keith. My deepest condolences to you and your family.
Jean (Peirick) Braun
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