Philip Digby Keif, 90, passed away peacefully, on March 3, 2019, in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded by his loving family. Phil was born on September 24, 1928 in Pueblo, Colorado to Aubrey Jennings Keif and Laura Richardson.
Phil served shortly in the US Army Air Corp, before entering and then graduating from the University of Wyoming. He began his journalism career in 1952 and wrote for local newspapers. From 1955-1967, Phil worked for the Associated Press as a reporter and editor and lived in Salt Lake City. During that time, he self-published a scientific monthly newsletter titled “The Intermountain Space Pak.” His writing covered many topics from science to religion to politics – both local and national. In 1967, The Associated Press sent Phil and his family to Washington, D.C. to cover the Senate and the United States Interior Department. From 1967-1970, he wrote for the Peace Corp and Voice of America. In 1970, Phil joined the federal government to become Deputy Press Secretary for The Department of Energy. After an exemplary career, he retired in 1996.
In 1960, Phil married Shirley Deon Dixon Pymm. He was a loving husband to her and her two daughters, Jill Pymm and Joy Pymm. In 1963, Phil and Deon completed their family with the birth of their child, Natalie. Together they had a wonderful marriage and a loving family. In June of 1992, Deon passed away unexpectedly. He later married Raye Rita Taggart Graham and, after retiring, moved back to Salt Lake City, Utah and happily resided in the historic downtown district. He would often be seen with the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Tribune, under his arm, and on his way to enjoy a morning of coffee and chatter with his cronies.
He is survived by his wife, Raye Rita Taggart Graham Keif, three daughters, Natalie Keif Liniak (Tom), Joy Pymm Gasperini (Paul), and Jill Pymm Kemerer (Tom), from his first marriage to Deon, five grandchildren, Kristen Kemerer Robinson, Jessica Gasperini, Marcello Philip Gasperini, Jonathan Thomas Liniak, and Robert Thomas Liniak and 7 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Aubrey Keif Jr.
Phil was a kind, sweet husband, father and grandfather, and will be missed by his family and all who have known him. His ashes will be laid to rest at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake City, Utah. A family memorial service will be held at a later date.
Phil was a great supporter of Sports Plus Group, Inc., a 501C(3) non-profit organization founded by Natalie, that supports children, teens and adults with Autism. Tax deductible donations can be made in his memory to P.O. Box 83274, Gaithersburg, Md. 20883.