Howard O Keskitalo

October 12, 1920 ~ March 22, 2022 (age 101)


Howard O. Keskitalo, age 101, of Batavia, passed away Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at his home surrounded by his loving family.

He was born October 12, 1920, in Republic, Michigan, the son of Johann and Hilda (Antilla) Keskitalo.

Howard’s first home was a log cabin built by his father, who had immigrated from Finland at age 16.  He and his siblings worked hard on the farm from a very early age.  Everyone was excited when the new 2 story farmhouse was built with running water and electricity.  He served heroically in World War II in the 388th Bomb Group and the 563rd Bomb Squadron as a navigator on a B-17.  Upon discharge, he was awarded the Flying Cross and Air medal.  In 2017, he was named a Knight in the French Legion of Honor by the consulate of France.  He completed his engineering degree at Michigan State University where he met and married his wife, Janet.  Together, they had 3 children, Ann, James, and Jean.  He worked as a design engineer for Caterpillar Tractor Company for 32 years where he developed a new design for a bucket holder which was patented in 1967 by Caterpillar.  In his spare time, he could be found remodeling and working on odd jobs in the yard and house.  He enjoyed traveling the world with his wife, Janet, early in their retirement.  In 1989, he designed and built his present home on Bernadette Lane.  In recent years, he was constantly busy with small projects around the house and tending to his yard.  On his 100th birthday, he was honored with a car parade and gathering of family and friends. He will be dearly missed.

Howard was preceded in death by his parents, seven siblings, son James, and loving wife Janet (Stuart) to who he was married for 59 years.

He is survived by his loving companion of 11 years Betty Ward, children Ann (Alfredo) Balarezo of Grosse Ile, Michigan and Jean Keskitalo of Batavia; grandchildren George and Grant Balarezo, and Colin and Kelsey Buckley; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.

Visitation will take place at the United Methodist Church of Batavia, 8 N. Batavia Ave, Batavia on Sunday, March 27 at 10:30 am until the time of the memorial service at 11:30 with Reverend Dr. Cynthia Anderson officiating.

Burial will be held Tuesday, March 29, 2022 at West Batavia Cemetery in Batavia, Illinois. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials would be appreciated to the American Heart Association.

For information 630-232-8233 or



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March 27, 2022

10:30 AM to 11:30 AM
Batavia United Methodist Church
8 N Batavia Ave
Batavia, IL 60510

Funeral Service
March 27, 2022

11:30 AM
Batavia United Methodist Church
8 N Batavia Ave
Batavia, IL 60510

March 29, 2022

11:00 AM
West Batavia Cemetery
Route 25
Batavia, Illinois 60510

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