Keathley to have state building named in honor

Sunday, January 1, 2017

It is not every day that one person receives his due while another generously passes on his. But that day will come soon when Dexter resident Mike Keathley, who passed away of cancer in 2008, has a state building in St. Louis named after him, an honor that Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder was offered, but deferred to Keathley.

Keathley's service to Missouri is noteworthy. He served as commissioner of the Missouri Office of Administration and had a reputation for not allowing partisanship to get in the way of doing the right thing. Keathley tackled Missouri's budget by "dramatically slashing expenditures and trimming the fat off of excess spending," the Dexter Statesman's Noreen Hyslop recently reported. Keathley also held many leadership roles with the Boy Scouts in the state, as well as served on numerous state and local boards.

Kinder has left his mark on the Show Me State, as well, and is certainly worthy of being memorialized. He has served as lieutenant governor since 2005, a post which he will vacate in 2017 after unsuccessfully running for governor. Outgoing Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, as part of the Board of Public Buildings, approached Kinder about having a building named in his honor. Not everyone would do what Kinder did: He declined, suggesting the honor should go to Keathley instead.

Keathley was not just a name to Kinder. He knew him personally. He recalled, "I met Mike Keathley at a Boy Scout Jamboree in 1969," adding, "We remained close friends from that day on." Upon Keathley's death at the age of 51, Kinder said, "Today, Missouri is a better place thanks to the hard work and commitment of Mike Keathley."

It was that respect and appreciation for his friend that caused Lt. Gov. Kinder to deem Keathley's name a natural choice to be emblazoned on a state building. He was not alone; when he made the motion, it passed unanimously, and so the Chouteau and Compton State Office Building in St. Louis will soon bear Keathley's name.

The honor will be added to a list of several others Keathley has received, and it is a fitting gesture for one who served us faithfully and was taken from us too soon. We offer our congratulations to the Keathley family and kudos to Lt. Gov. Kinder.

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