TAVARES, Fla. – Carl J. Keith, 96, died March 19, 2007. Carl was born Aug. 19, 1910, in Naples, N.Y., the son of Jay and Bernice (Phetteplace) Keith. Carl J. Keith spent his life serving others as a loving son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and great-grand-father. He was a trained electrician who got his start in the late 1920s, wiring country homes for original electric service. He sold washers and dryers from the back of his car during the depression, and eventually saved enough money to build and open his own appliance store in Kenmore, N.Y. During World War II, he worked as a refrigeration contractor for the defense industry. He could fix or build almost anything. Carl invented a method to refrigerate milk delivery trucks in the late 1940s and designed and built a waffle-freezing machine in the 1950s. After the war, as he could afford it, he installed indoor plumbing in his parents’ home. Carl kept the homes of his children and grandchildren filled with desks, cabinets, wiring, furnaces, air conditioners and plumbing that he built, installed and fixed himself. His gentle touch and careful craftsmanship will survive him by many decades. Carl was lucky enough to be born in an era when cars were exotic and lived to see the Internet. He cried whenever he saw footage of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon; he never lost his awe for the great arc of human progress. He attributed his longevity to hard work and lots of fruit, but we think it had just as much to do with his two loving marriages, the first of 52 years and the second of 22, and his regular intake of ice cream. No one who knew Carl during his long life could remember even one instance of him uttering a curse; Carl simply did not have those words in his heart. Yet he swore like a sailor on the last day of his life because he did not want to leave us, even after 96 years. He loved his family most of all. Carl was the kind of man who poked at alligators and poisonous snakes with his cane, rang the doorbells of strangers, and struck up conversations with construction workers. He was too proud to turn off the electricity when he worked with live wires, but never too proud to admit he should have after he got a shock. He bought a new car almost every single year of his long retirement, traveled everywhere he wanted to go, and didn’t care what anybody thought about it. He rode a motor scooter and climbed on roofs until his late 80s, played chess well until age 92 and poorly even after that; played Hot Wheels on the floor with his great-grandson, Hugo, until 95; and regularly put love poems to his wife, Helen, on the refrigerator until the last days of his life. In his later years, everyone called him “Grandpa,” even waitresses in restaurants and grown men. Young children gravitated toward him because they saw in him a reflection of their own innocent joy in living. Carl was an avid reader, with a keen interest in history. He liked Harry Truman best of the American presidents because of his frankness and honesty, qualities that Carl lived every day of his life. He was an avid amateur photographer, but the best pictures were always the ones he was in. His genuine smile and simple charm touched the lives of all he knew. He was the family patriarch, not just because of his many years, but because of his kindness, generosity of spirit, work ethic, vitality, courage and love for his family. He lived the kind of life we should all aspire to. We were very lucky to have Carl for so long, and we know that now he walks with God. He is survived by his wife, Helen L. (Delisle) Keith; his sister, Winifred Albing; two daughters, Marilyn Hamm and her husband, Theodore, and Nancy Keith; stepdaughter, Donna and her husband, Larry Carbonneau; stepson, Paul Delisle; four grandchildren, Beverly Hamm, Donna Albert and her husband, Jon D., Diane and her husband, John F. Myers, and Jay C. Keith; three stepgrandchildren, Larry D. Carbonneau and his wife, Sherry, Laurie A. Carbonneau, and Lisa and her husband, Jeremiah Rancourt; and three great-grandchildren, Stephen L. Albert, David L. Albert, and Hugo Keith. He was predeceased by first wife of 52 years, Florence Ingham Keith; his parents; and two brothers, Lynn and Allen. Services were held March 21, in Florida. Interment is planned at White Haven Memorial Park, Pittsford, N.Y.