Tribute to my mother – Lois Vivian Johns – on her birthday November 2nd

It was in Philadelphia that my mother met my father

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. Today, November 2nd, is the day my mother Lois Vivian Johns was born in Pennsylvania. 

I thank you for providing me with all that you taught me and influenced me to speak my mind. 

She was a fiery spirit. Always had a lot of energy and drive. She would also tear up easily, she had a lot of compassion and allowed herself to express her emotions freely, that were close to her heart. 

James and Lois Keiter loved one another and were devoted to each other

She and my father met when they were both attending school for medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. Their birthdays were just two weeks apart. They were born the same year. She was valedictorian in high school; student, typically having the highest academic achievements of the class.

They shared their joy of music and dancing, of nature and doing physical sports (she was a golfer, tennis player and skier). She prepared healthy meals for her family of four children. She and my father enjoyed art (creating and admiring) and culture, with th

Lois Joan and Carol

I am proud of you Mother. A women who always asked others how they were doing, and never, ever complained about her own self. She simply continued to always move forward and have a lot on her plate, to contribute to the community. 

We always had animals. A love of nature was always present. She maintained a beautiful home, with decorations, flowers, the work to maintain the lovely outdoors part of our property. She always put effort into maintaining things, and loved to read and keep her mind occupied with challenges. 

My parents together planted 50 trees on their new property (which was a treeless hill with only wild flowers. They created a mini forest wonderland that brought me into the world caring immensely about other creatures, and  biodiversity.

Halloween in her 90’s

I appreciate and respect you very much and certainly am proud to have you as my mother. 

Dancing with her grandson in law Wes Hornig at his wedding to Megan Keiter
outside trimming flowers on her property
Lois and her daughter Carol at a luncheon at the Lebanon Country Club

I mist you!

Tribute to my Dad – Dr. James M. Keiter – on his birthday October 19th

My daddy, James Marcus Keiter, was born on October 19th, so I’m putting out this tribute to his life. He was kind, very responsible and a devoted husband and father. 

Bleeding Hearts, that grew wild in our back yard.

He was a musician, a clarinetist, throughout high school, college and medical school. He decided not to pursue this career however. He also was a runner on track through college as well as tennis player and skier throughout his adult life.

James Marcus in his youth…running track

He had is medical practice as a physician in the first home in Campbelltown (where he’d do ‘house calls’). Later, he started an Emergency Room unit with several other doctors at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon.

He had a love for nature, animals and the outdoors, and shared this with his family. 

He and my mother moved to a new home in Palmyra which was built new on a hill, where the two of them planted 50 pine trees and landscaped a lovely yard that was a nature habitat for wildlife. They had a garden and grew herbs as well.

Here’s a link to spring photos in the Keiter yard, where among the pines and other trees, were flower gardens and azalea and rhododendron bushes. They also had a marvelous ebullient wisteria, which had a thick twisted trunk and full aromatic flowers (which the new home owners incredulously chopped down, along with all the bushes that lined the house in the front which were safe places for birds, groundhogs, skunks and chipmunks to pass through and nest).

Our back yard in the home I was raised.

Here’s a link to photos I took one spring of the flowers and trees of our yard.

He painted water colors as he approached retirement, and then prolifically once he retired. Unfortunately these images that I took have a light glare/reflection from my camera, and nativity about how to properly record them. But i did, and here’s the link to his watercolor paintings (and wood carvings). 

James Marcus Keiter watercolor
James Marcus Keiter watercolor Snow Drifts

My mother Lois and he loved to dance and would go out to dances often.

James and Lois Keiter (with Kitty Ulrich, husband Bob not in the pic) – who were each doctors and their best friends.

They also participated in a gourmet club among their friends, as well as getting together to play tennis regularly. 

They learned to snow ski together and introduced this sport to their children, for which I’m very grateful. 

I accompanied them to an outdoor classical music concert.

He was often working in the yard, which was a wonderland growing up. I grew up among pet dogs and cats, for which I’m very fortunate. 

My father had a workshop in the basement where he’d build frames for his paintings and so forth.

He and my mother read a lot together. He devoured books about history. 

They went to art gallery openings and concerts as well as supporting the local high school team sports games. 

Lois and Jim walking with canes in the backyard wildlife habitat they created.

My parents hosted extended family Thanksgiving Dinners every year for 30 + years, where his brothers, and then their children, all gathered for the Turkey and meal which my mother and father prepared. 

Rest in Peace Daddy ~ I appreciate very much the life you gave to me and my sisters and brother and am sure that your father Charles A. Keiter, a Lutheran Minister (who died 4 years before I was born) and mother were proud. 

Shane McConkey Extreme Athlete | Not Afraid of Dying, but of Not Living Fully

Shane McConkey, extreme skier, base-jumper, wingsuit

Shane McConkey always wanted to make people laugh

By chance, or rather synchronicity, I tuned in to a documentary about Shane McConkey, an American skier whose style was so over-the-top, that he continually raised the bar in the extremes he displayed in his maneuvers. Skiing down narrow shoots, performing multiple somersaults off cliffs more often than not, was eventually replaced with base jumping. Naturally, when wingsuit flying was introduced because of the technology of fabrics, he was all over it.

His father had been a professional skier, whose involvement in his own pursuits impelled him to follow this path rather than that of remaining with his family.

Shane McConkey surprising the audience skiing naked in a slalom race

Shane McConkey surprising the audience skiing bottomless in a slalom race

Endlessly, Shane was clowning; doing all sorts of stunts to make people laugh. He was continually the life and light of whatever event. Such as competing with other contestants in a slalom race, with no pants on.

Wherever he’d arrive to ski, he’d blow people away with his graceful and daring ski jumps and runs. Throughout his career he had multiple injuries; broken bones and dislocations.

He changed the face of skiing;

both in the maneuvers he pulled off and in his designs. He came up with the concept of the fatter ski, now the standard. He also designed ski boots.

A movie is coming out documenting his life. Here’s the trailer.

Watching the documentaries about his life, one follows his path to the most majestic mountains and glorious terrain; witnessing in awe his spectacular feats. The quest of Shane and his buddies was to seek out extraordinary heights and challenges worldwide. They traveled the globe to the most venerable peaks to plot the cliffs they would jump off; in the States, Norway, Italy, South America, Asia and the Arctic circle…

Majestic peaks in view with one of Shane McConkey's ventures

Majestic peaks in view with one of Shane McConkey’s ventures

Shane proceeded to do this in more and more complex ways: combining skiing while wearing a wingsuit – launching off cliffs – doing multiple somersaults  – then sailing the cliff like a bird before deploying the parachute. It’s phenomenal to see how much courage he had. Talk about squeezing every last drop out of seeking the ultimate experiences in life!

Quoting his friend, “People like Shane and I are not afraid of death, we’re more afraid of not living fully.

Shane McConkey, BIG Air

Shane McConkey getting BIG Air

 

Shane McConkey extreme sport athlete Wingsuit jumping

Shane McConkey extreme sport athlete Wingsuit jumping

If was when he was performing a ski jump – wingsuit maneuver in the Dolomites in Italy on March 26, 2009, that he died. Though he’d already performed this successfully multiple times, he had technical difficulties when the skis didn’t release from the bindings properly. He had executed a double back-flip and when the skis didn’t properly eject, it sent him into a spin. Though he did manage to manually release the skis; moving at 110 mph, by the time he had ejected them he was already too close to the ground when the parachute opened.

The feature I saw was on the cable station “Animal Planet”. The link below is a comprehensive article about his life.

http://adventuresportsjournal.com/snow_sports/backcountry-skiing/mcconkey

Shane McConkey Extreme Skier, Basejumper, Wingsuit diver

Shane_McConkey Extreme Skier, Basejumper, Wingsuit diver