Keith Randall Erlewine of Sacramento, California was born on the prairies of Nebraska, married to his college sweetheart for 62 years and flew the world as a captain for the iconic Pan American World Airways.
Keith was born in Ogallala, Nebraska to William Dale and Leora Erlewine. His twin brothers, Dale and Gale, were eight-and-a-half years older.
He attended country school and participated in sports and music at Perkins County High School in Grant, Neb. He received an undergraduate degree in agricultural economics at the University of Nebraska Lincoln in 1955 and was a proud member of the Farmhouse Fraternity. As a senior, Keith married his college sweetheart, Rosemary Manning, on June 5, 1954, and they embarked on a magical life-long journey together.
Upon graduating, Keith joined the U.S. Air Force, through ROTC, for three years, where he learned to fly the military’s first fighter jet (the F-86). Upon returning to Lincoln, Keith joined the Nebraska Air National Guard as a fighter pilot, obtained a master’s degree in agricultural economics, and then appraised real estate.
In 1966, Keith followed his dreams and became a pilot with Pan Am, moving to Arden Oaks in Sacramento where they have lived for 50 years.
Over the next 25 years, Keith was based for Pan Am in both New York and San Francisco, commanding planes ranging from 707s, 737s, 747s and A310s. Rosemary frequently accompanied Keith on his trips. When Pan Am unexpectedly went out of business in 1991, Keith returned to his profession of commercial real estate appraisal in Sacramento for the next 15 years, retiring five years ago.
Keith and Rosemary were devoted members of the Saint Mark’s Methodist Church in Sacramento for 50 years, serving on church boards and singing in the choir. They had unending devotion to their three children, Randy, Kris and Karen, and six grandchildren, Emily Erlewine; Kathryn, Robert and Elizabeth Lowman; and Jake and Clay Erlewine; who frequently visited them in the summer.
Their great passion and source of pride, working side by side for hours, was gardening, maintaining an enormous vegetable garden (which consistently provisioned the church sharing table to benefit Heifer International), along with large flower gardens. Together they enjoyed traveling, staying at B&Bs, ballroom dancing, tennis, playing bridge and were members of the same gourmet group for 30 years. Keith and Rosemary were the definition of one.
Keith was active in SIRS (Sons in Retirement), a docent at the Sacramento Air Museum, and served as president of the Arden Oaks Homeowners Association. He was also a lifelong University of Nebraska football fan (Go Big Red!) Keith was a kind and loving husband, father and grandfather and friend to all who knew him. He will be dearly missed and celebrated.
Keith was predeceased by his parents, William Dale and Leora, and brother Dale.
He is survived by his wonderful bride Rosemary, their three children Randy, Kris and Karen (husband Lane Lowman); six grandchildren; his brother Gale (and wife Lucille) and sister-in-law Kathe.
On Saturday, March 18 there was a memorial service at St. Mark’s Methodist Church followed by a reception.
Donations may be made in Keith’s name to St. Mark’s United Methodist Church or the Aerospace Museum of California.