Gordon “Forbes” Keith was a championship athlete and a beloved coach and educator. At Needham (MA) High School, Keith won the 1954 Massachusetts State Hockey Championship. Four years later as a standout for the Boston University hockey team, Keith helped BU win its first Beanpot championship in 1958. Keith spent the next 45 years of his life teaching and coaching at various high schools and colleges across the U.S. He also co-founded the Massachusetts Hockey Coaches Association and Massachusetts Soccer Coaches Association. In 2013, Keith was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. After his death in June 2018, Keith’s family donated his brain to the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank for concussion and CTE research.
By Barbara Keith
Forbes and I met in September 1955 when I was a senior at Needham High School, and he was a sophomore at Boston University.
In 1954 Forbes was a member of the Needham High School ice hockey team that won the Massachusetts State Championship. Normally a defenseman or wing, he was called upon to play goalie after the starter had been injured. He was a very good athlete and also played for the BU baseball team as a catcher, first baseman, and pitcher.
He played hockey and baseball at Boston University for four years. He was a member of the first B.U. Beanpot winning hockey team in 1958. He received a B.S. and M. Ed. Degree in Physical Education at Boston University.
We were married at Boston University’s Marsh Chapel in October of 1958 at the beginning of his last college hockey season.
He always wanted to be a coach and teacher from a young age. For 45 years he taught Physical Education and was an Athletic Director and Facilities Director at colleges and high schools all over the country. He also coached hockey, soccer, and baseball at those schools. Additionally, he worked at several hockey camps, soccer camps and other sports camps during the summertime.
He started the Massachusetts Hockey Coaches Association and Massachusetts Soccer Coaches Association along with fellow coaches.
During the late ‘70s Forbes was selected to study in the Soviet Union in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of sports and physical education in North America.
In 1981 we moved back to Needham, Massachusetts to take care of Forbes’ mom. He taught at the high school from which we both graduated. In 1983 we moved out to Southern California where we lived for 22 years and in 2005 after he retired, we moved to Tucson, Arizona.
In his spare time he played tennis and semipro hockey and softball. He enjoyed woodworking and traveling across the country in our RV, visiting 35 states.
We have two children, Scott and Lisa, and three grandchildren, Sam, Ariel, and Aaron.
He suffered from Alzheimers Disease the last five years of his life. We made a donation of Forbes’ brain to the Boston University CTE Center hoping to help find answers for other athletes.