Growing up in Brimfield, Illinois, Keith attended Brimfield Township High School where he participated in basketball, as well as music and drama.
Entering Lake Forest in 1932, he earned a freshman numeral and one varsity letter in basketball. He also participated in football and tennis. Chairman of the College Day Committee and business manager for the Stentor, he was also a member of Beta Beta Beta and Kappa Sigma.
Graduating with a degree in biology and chemistry, he went on to receive his Master's degree in education from Northwestern. He then started a 38-year career as a teacher in the Chicago area. He spent 25 years at Oak Park - River Forest High School, where he retired as Dean of Students. He continued to serve his alma mater as a Class Agent for 40 years, Director of Alumni Association, acting as Alumni Advisor to Kappa Sigma, and serving on the Alumni Board of Govenors.