Keith L. Kress, 87, of Cedar Rapids, passed away Sunday, May 24, 2020, at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids surrounded by his loving family. Private services will be held at Zion Lutheran Church with Pastor Daniel Krueger officiating. Private burial with military honors at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery.
Keith was born on a farm near Rowley, south of Independence. When his older brother, Leo, took over the operation of the farm, their parents bought the Clover Farm Store in town. Keith helped there when he was in high school and always smiled as he recited the company motto, "Enjoy the Charm of Clover Farm."
He did some construction after his graduation from Rowley High School, drove a delivery truck for Home Town Dairy and worked at Wilson's Meat Packing. It was during the time of the Korean conflict and knowing his draft number was coming up, he decided to enlist in the U.S. Navy for four years.
He met the love of his life, Maye Gross, at Danceland Ballroom in Cedar Rapids before he enlisted. When he came home from San Diego after three months of training, they married on Aug. 27, 1952. Maye followed Keith wherever she was allowed to go during his four years of service, including two years in Kodiak, Alaska. The couple bought their first house in Cedar Rapids in 1956 and then moved to Hiawatha in 1958.
Keith worked for the United States Postal Service, first as a mail handler, then a city carrier and a rural carrier. He was Hiawatha's first city carrier. He spent the final 13 years of his career as the postmaster in Fairfax and retired in 1990. He also served his community as Hiawatha's fire chief and was a mayor for four years.
One of the highlights of Keith's life was taking the Honor Flight in September 2015 with his son. He said it was thrilling to ride down Pennsylvania Avenue with a police escort and sirens wailing. He enjoyed touring the nation's capital, but his favorite memory was the homecoming ceremony at the Cedar Rapids airport. They were greeted by a horde of people, young and old, expressing gratitude for their service.
Left to cherish his memory is his wife, Maye; children, Deborah (Dave) Miell and Darryl Kress, both of Cedar Rapids; brother, Leo (Audrey) Kress of Rowley; grandchildren, Greg (Kim) Benesh and Justin (Megan) Kress; two great-grandchildren, Everett and Luke; and many nieces, nephews and extended family members.
He was preceded in death by his parents and grandchild, Trevor Miell.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to the family.
Online condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.cedarmemorial.com under obituaries.