Illusion 03

Austin Tuttle Keithley

January 3, 1942 ~ August 29, 2021 (age 79)


Hamilton - Austin Keithley was born in La Jolla, CA, and grew up in Chula Vista, CA, moving to Bishop, CA. When he was ready for college, he moved to Boulder, CO.  He studied general subjects for two years but returned home to help his father manage the Best Western Motel that his dad, Ralph, had purchased, in 1961.  When he moved to Bishop, he began dating his wife, Laurel.  He moved on to Colorado for his higher education and called Laurel while she was doing swing shift in a bakery in Bishop and proposed to her.  Then began a year and a half engagement with Austin, returning to Bishop to help his dad and shortly after joining the Marine Corps. He served six months of active duty then he switched to a Marine Corps Reserve participant, going 250 miles monthly, to Sparks, Nevada, for weekends and returning to Camp Pendleton every summer for two weeks. 

Meantime, he married Laurel on November 28, 1964, in a small Catholic Church, that is now a museum north of Bishop.  Austin was the proud father of Janie, his first daughter, in 1966.  The second daughter, Shannon, arrived in 1968 increasing his joy, and his son, Kevin was born in 1971 topping off his fatherly pride.

Austin spent his life owning his own motels in Bishop, and partners in motels in Las Vegas, Nevada along with Henderson, Nevada.  He was president of the Rotary Club at 37, having joined Rotary at 21., a member of the Chamber of Commerce, along with having membership in the motel association membership, he served the church on the committee that supported the priest while in Bishop. 

Moving to an even more beautiful place, Hamilton Montana, in 1995. He purchased a 2-acre property with a modest home, in 1996.  He continued his dedication to the Marine Corps by being a founder in part of the local Marine Corps League.  While holding offices in The League, he served as Commandant and spent years and years as part of the Honor Guard. Serving departed military of all branches of the military at their memorials with flag bearing and gun salutes, from Missoula to a small cemetery south of Darby.

Austin became a full member of St. Francis Catholic Church, professing his faith in the small side chapel while on his lunch hour from Ace Hardware, on a Saturday.  Since he had been attending Mass regularly and was facing dangerous surgery in Seattle, Fr. Daragh expedited his entrance into the Catholic Church and his receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  Dianne Sandland brought Austin communion while he was bed-ridden, and Fr. Connor gave him the Sacrament of the Sick while he was still healthy enough to fully understand the significance of the ritual.

Austin leaves behind Laurel; his three children; seven grandchildren, and four great grandchildren and his niece, Kim, all of which visited him this summer before he passed away peacefully, on August 29, 2021.  Austin also leaves behind his sister, Sydney; brothers-in-law, Paul and Dennis.  The families of these siblings were in touch, to include the spouses who were all loving to Austin.  Austin's kids have given him much pleasure with his grandchildren, including the expectation of an eighth grandchild, who will be  more than two years younger than his fourth great grandson. 

Austin is now on those beautiful shores where his family will meet him sometime in the future. Amen.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, September 25, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Francis Catholic Church in Hamilton. Military honors will follow at the church. There will be a reception following the services in the Pastoral Life Center at the church. Condolences may be left at

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Funeral Mass
September 25, 2021

11:00 AM
St. Francis Catholic Church (Hamilton)
Guaranteed delivery before the Funeral Mass begins

Military Honors
September 25, 2021

12:00 PM
St Francis Catholic Church (Hamilton, MT)
Guaranteed delivery before the Military Honors begins

September 25, 2021

12:15 PM
Pastoral Life Center
Guaranteed delivery before the Reception begins

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