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Keith Dale Kartchner

KEITH DALE KARTCHNER: “Dale” passed away in his home on April 7, 2023, at 86 years of age. He was surrounded by his wife, Elizabeth and three of his five children. He leaves behind his beloved wife, Elizabeth, six brothers, two sisters, five children, twelve grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He is loved and missed by all!

Services will be held April 29, 2023, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2700 East Galveston St, Gilbert, Arizona, 85295 Visitation – starting at 8:30 am, Services – 10:00 am A video link for those unable to attend the services will be available at

About six years ago after the death of his brother Max, Dad took the time to start planning for his own funeral (to relieve the stress for his family at what he knew would be a difficult time for them). In doing this, he wrote the following to be some thoughts for his obituary:

Dale was born at his parents’ home in Pomerene Arizona on June 14, 1936. He has no personal remembrances of the event but is sure he was welcomed as the 4th son of James Andersen and Lois Martineau Kartchner. The family would eventually grow to 9 sons and 3 daughters. Before starting school, the family moved to St. David, Arizona, a small farming community in southern Arizona about 15 miles from the famed Tombstone. This was a community established by early Mormon settlers sent by Brigham Young.

He went to school for 12 years, graduating 2nd in a class of 14 students. He was active in sports, playing football, basketball and tennis. His school won the state football championship in his senior year, and he competed in the state tennis finals. Of course, almost everyone had to participate to make the team with a total high school enrollment (9 through 12) of around 80.

His family owned a small ranch on which Dale spent many days working with his father and older brothers. His dad bought the place as his family at that time consisted of 4 boys and he thought they should have something to do. Dale then attended the University of Arizona for 2 years, after which he served 2 ½ years in the Uruguayan South American Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Missions have changed a lot since then. When he served, there was no formal training in the language, the mission goal was to do 40 hours of tracking each week, and wearing hats was mandatory. At that time, there were about (a guess) 18-20 branches in the mission, no stakes, one ward and 7-8 districts. As of this date (1/22/2017) there are 2 missions, 18 stakes, 3 districts, 104 wards, 13 branches, and one temple in that same country. All the branches are now stakes, even some that were considered just small out-of-the-way branches when he served! (His mission apparently did not slow the work down much.)

After returning home in 1959, he returned to the University of Arizona for further education. In 1960 he experienced two life changing events—He married his high school sweetheart Elizabeth McRae on June 16, 1960, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Mesa Temple and that fall they packed all their material belongings (life was much simpler then) in a small Plymouth sedan and headed for Denver, Colorado for 4 years of medical school. He then spent one year in an internship at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas after which he then returned to Benson, Arizona (very close to where he grew up) and practiced family medicine for the next 5 years in partnership with his brothers Max and Dean. In 1970, he moved his family to Philadelphia for 3 years of specialized training in radiology.

The family then moved to Amarillo, Texas, arriving on January 1, 1974, unloading a U-Haul in what he recalls was a reported wind-chill factor of close to 0! They had no concrete plans of leaving but believed they would return to Arizona, where many of their relatives lived, after a few years. However, 43 years later, they might need to reconsider those ideas. After 40 years in a radiology practice (guess he never quit practicing to do the real thing), he retired and was able to spend more time with his family at home, now consisting of Elizabeth and a stray cat.

Dale has always been an active member in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, having served in multiple positions. (Someone doing family history for the Dale Kartchner family might suspect that he had a shady relationship with the law since he moved his young family frequently throughout the country). Mike was born in Denver, Sandra in Dallas, Roger and Susan in Tucson and Stacey in Philadelphia. They had many family trips and in spite of some bumpy spots in the road, the family remains close with many good memories of life in Amarillo.”

As Dale’s family, we would like to add to these memories:

Dad was a man of strong convictions and held closely to his values without much regard for popular whims of the day. Among other things he didn’t care for were persistent weeds, cold weather, most politicians and too many vegetables for dinner. But his quiet manner and low-key demeanor wouldn’t allow most annoyances to bother him too deeply or for too long. He was always ready with a compassionate heart and gracious words of reassurance for those who struggled with life’s pressing issues.

The things he loved, however, were a far bigger part of his life. He enjoyed history, always fascinated by museums, documentaries and accounts from the past. His love of horses translated into an affection for Western movies, because they usually “knew how to do it right”. He also cherished music, (“but not that dumb loud stuff”) and was easily moved by beautiful arrangements of hymns and other classics. His analytical mind enjoyed the challenge presented by difficult puzzles and crosswords. He was always willing to help with homework and housework and truly enjoyed fixing anything in the home that might be causing a problem. We believe he may have been secretly offended if a repair person was ever required to enter the house.

He also had an enduring belief in the values of hard work and education, often to the chagrin of his children as they were growing up. Now, though, they’ve gained a greater appreciation for both the worth and the rarity of those principles in today’s world and do what they can to annoy their own children with similar expectations.

No other interests in Dad’s heart, however, approached the love he had for his family. Always fully devoted to his children, he worked tirelessly to make sure they were provided with both the principles and the encouragement to find happiness in life. We were all a bit taken aback when his children, who had always been his greatest priority, were suddenly knocked down a peg by his grandchildren.

He cherished his twelve grandchildren and they, along with four great-grandchildren, collectively became the center of his world. He truly adored each of them, connecting on regular video calls and personally funding annual family reunions. Rather than travel to exotic vacation destinations in their retirement years, he and Mom chose instead to crisscross the country when they left home, celebrating family holidays and birthdays and watching grandchildren in plays, concerts, marching bands, sports competitions, weddings, and graduations. Nothing brought him more joy than the time he spent with them.

We’re heartbroken to lose such a precious man, but so deeply grateful for the blessing of having him in our lives. His love and devotion to our family shaped a legacy that will be felt for generations to come. Thanks, Dad, for everything you did and everything you were. We miss you so much and cannot wait to see you again.

Dale is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and five children: Mike, Sandra (Doug), Roger (Sharon), Susan, and Stacey (Jay). He also leaves behind 12 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.


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