The National Peace Corps Association was saddened to learn of the death of Bud Keith, long-time leader of Peace Corps Panama Friends and former NPCA board member. Bud, who was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama in Group 8 from 1965-1967, passed away on Saturday June 14th at the age of 68. Bud was blinded at the age of 11 in a school yard-accident and while in Panama worked with the Helen Keller School for the Blind and other programs for the visually impaired in Panama City. After the Peace Corps he worked as a senior official with the Department of Health and Human Services and was heavily involved in promoting athletic programs for the blind and visually impaired.
A member of Peace Corps Panama Friends had this to say about Bud:
Bud Keith's disability never defined his life. In addition to his work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama, he was a leader in the returned Peace Corps Volunteer community. He served on the Board of Directors of the National Peace Corps Association from 1988 to 1991. He was president of the Peace Corps Panama Friends for the past 15 years. He worked with the PCPF Directive to build a strong alumni group to enable our members to stay in touch with Panama and with each other and to raise funds for volunteer projects in Panama. Bud helped Group 8 stay a uniquely close group of friends. Each December, Bud collected and then distributed year-end letters from Group 8 members. More than 40 years of Group 8 news, opinion, and humor. Fittingly, four of this Group 8 friends - Tom Brew, Jim Hannan, Dave Hughes, and Peter Slattery - were with Bud the day he died. Bud's love for Panama never ended, as he continued to visit the country throughout his life, and support projects, especially those serving the blind. He was still working to accomplish one of his life's dreams, to establish a scholarship fund for blind Panamanian students.
In honor of Bud, Peace Corps Panama Friends has established the Bud Keith Memorial Fund for programs benefiting the blind in Panama. People wishing to donate to the Fund can do so by clicking here or by mailing a check made to "Peace Corps Panama Friends" memo "Bud Keith Memorial Fund" to PCPF, 3858 N. Tazewell Street, Arlington, VA 22207-4533.
Click here to read Bud Keith's obituary in the Washington Post.