Frederick 'Keith' Richan

February 5, 1913 - June 18, 2018

Lucky Keith enjoyed 105 healthy and happy years with a sense of humour and a sharp mind until his death. Keith enjoyed everything life had to offer. He was born in Montreal and lived in the town of Mount Royal with parents Irene (nee Joliffe) and Frederick, and siblings Ruth (Haythorne) and Donald. Growing up, he loved playing baseball, hockey and competitive tennis, spending much time at the Town of Mount Royal Tennis Club. He graduated from McGill (Science) and proudly returned to celebrate with fellow alumni for his 75th anniversary in 2011. Keith married Jean Paxton in Montreal in 1939 and together they had 4 children - Carolyn Coles, Beverley Szandtner (Andy), Ron (Janet), and Kathy (Pierre). Keith was a passionate worker, starting his career with Marconi in 1944 (earning 20 cents/hr on the factory floor) and quickly advancing to Manager, Personnel Relations. In 1945 he moved to Toronto to work with Rogers Majestic (Philips) and a year later moved his family there - the Kingsway first, then Thornhill.  

Keith spent 32 years with Philips (Leaside in early years) in Industrial Relations and Purchasing, establishing a respected reputation as a tough bargainer and straight shooter who showed empathy and common sense in all of his dealings. In the early 50’s Keith held the position of Chairman of the School Board in the township of Markham and Vaughan for several years. Outside of work, he continued his love of tennis and initiated the establishment of the community tennis courts in Thornhill. Through the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club, Keith met his second wife, Pat Turner, (died in 2007) a native of Calgary, and they married in 1965.

Keith was a contributor- President, Central Ontario Industrial Relations Institute, Director, Personnel Association of Toronto and Canadian Manufacturer’s Association. In the early 60’s, while working with Philips, and with the help of the Federal Labour Dept. and the Ontario Dept. of Education, he was most proud of founding a new program called LEAP “Leaside Educational Assistance Project” whereby employees in four Leaside companies could complete their high school education while working. LEAP was a forerunner to the Ontario Community Colleges, where Keith continued to participate on the Council of Regents.

From 1968 to 1989 Keith participated in the International Labour Organization in Geneva, part of the UN, serving four 3-year terms, as Employer delegate, part of the governing body, employer VP of the ILO conference, and President of the International Organization of Employers. He established and maintained the many relationships he made throughout these years.

After retiring as VP at Philips in 1978 Keith and Pat moved to Shelter Valley, then Port Hope, and eventually Cobourg, where he was active within the communities, working on a variety of plans and projects including the Waterfront Implementation Project. His efforts were recognized with the naming of the “Keith Richan Foot Bridge” which crosses over the Ganaraska River at Mill Street in Port Hope. In 1996 he was honoured as Port Hope’s “Senior of the Year” at the age of 83.

Keith’s reputation was one of positive energy, enthusiasm, sound-straight thinking, persistence in completing the task at hand and always presenting a positive outlook. He loved his life full of friends, family, acquaintances, crosswords, reading, jazz and conversations. His 4 kids, 9 grandkids, and 10 great grandkids will miss and affectionately remember his joie de vivre with amazement and admiration.

Join family, friends and colleagues on July 19, (1 to 4 p.m.) at the Woodlawn Inn in Cobourg to share stories and fond memories of his wonderful life which he lived to the fullest.

Flowers gratefully declined but memorial donations to the Northumberland Hills Hospital would be greatly appreciated.  Condolences received at

Gathering of Friends
Thursday, July 19 from 1-4 p.m.
Woodlawn Terrace Inn, Cobourg

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