William John Keck
October 11, 1922 - December 28, 2021
William John Keck was born in Everett, Massachusetts to Anna Maria Drozdzik and Joseph Bruno Keck, each originally from Poland. He moved to Avon as a child where he began his education. Playing baseball was a favorite pastime. After graduation from Hyde Park High in 1940, he attended Northeastern University in Boston.
Two years into his engineering program, Bill enlisted in the US Army Air Corp. He reported to Boca Raton, Florida, for training as an aircraft maintenance officer before going to New Mexico for Flight Engineer training. Bill flew 24 bombing missions in the Asian/Pacific theatre in WWII as a B-29 Flight Engineer. Having achieved the rank of 1st Lieutenant, he was honorably discharged in November 1945. He then returned to Northeastern and completed a B.S in Mechanical Engineering. He later achieved an M.S. in Electronic Communications from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Bill began his Aerospace Engineering legacy at Chance Vought Aircraft in Stratford, Connecticut, where he met his future wife, Natalie Ann Colonnese. The two were married in April 1951. He later worked with Aerojet General Corporation in Sacramento, California, and Communications Satellite Corporation (COMSAT) in both El Segundo, California and Washington, D.C. Bill took up flying and earned his wings as a Private Pilot taking his family of five on cross-country adventures in a single engine aircraft. He later took up gliding and always looked forward to Saturdays when he would soar over the southern California high desert. The professional achievement of which he was most proud was guiding the development of the Polaris A-3 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile program through its final production.
A devoted husband and father, Bill was also known for his generous spirit, sense of humor and artistic creativity. He enjoyed painting, woodworking projects, working outdoors and baseball. He also volunteered with Harbor InterFaith, a local ESL tutoring program, special construction projects at St. Luke's Presbyterian Church, and the Air Force Honor Guard.
Bill was predeceased by his parents; beloved wife, Natalie; sisters Josephine Horton, Helen Smith and Emily Nelson; and brothers Alfred Keck and Robert Keck. He is survived by his three daughters, Carol Marashian (Charles), Sallyann Keck, and Susan Keck-Truman (Alan); grandchildren Sara Woolsey (Sean), John Marashian, Hannah Marashian and Trip Truman; and great-granddaughter Ondine Woolsey.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests honorary gifts be directed to Smile Train at www.smiletrain.org. Use firstname.lastname@example.org when prompted for an email address. Or call 800-932-9541.