Keith Wise



June 19, 1939 — June 14, 2019

Pastor Keith Burnell Wise passed away on June 14, 2019, in Pendleton, Oregon, with complications of a progressive neurologic disorder called multiple-system atrophy. This disorder stole his ability to speak clearly, which was very frustrating for a lifelong minister. A memorial service will take place at Pendleton Pioneer Chapel on Saturday, June 29 at 10 a.m., followed by a lunch for his family at his favorite restaurant, Roosters.

Keith was born in Gap, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to Levi N. and Ida M. Wise. He graduated from Pequea Valley High School in Kinzers, Pa., and attended Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa. While attending United Theological Seminary he married Patricia Petrullo. They had four children.

Keith served in the Eastern Conference of the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the United Methodist Church (formerly EUV) in Southern New Jersey Conference. Keith was sent by the National Board of Missions to a missionary church in Homer, Alaska, serving a tri-church ministry with Homer, Seldovia and Ninilchik churches from 1972 to 1983. He then served the New Hope Church, a combined Presbyterian-Methodist congregation in North Pole, Alaska, from 1983 to 1992. He especially loved attending meetings in which Korean, Athabaskan and English-speaking congregations sang “How Great Thou Art” in their native tongues blending so beautifully together. When time allowed, Keith loved to go hunting and fishing with friends and family. After a divorce in 1992 he left the Alaska Missionary Conference to serve in the Oregon-Idaho Conference.

In 1994 Keith moved to Rupert, Idaho, where he was pastor of the Rupert United Methodist Church. He married Jean Dunn in 1995. Keith especially loved baptizing family campers in the South Fork of the Boise River at Sawtooth Camp. Keith became a voluntary Idaho State Police chaplain. It was required that he ride with the troopers a number of hours each month, therefore getting to know them well. As well as loving his church ministry and the members at Rupert Church, he loved being an ISP chaplain. He was part of supporting the troopers as well as his duties as a chaplain.

In 2005, after 44 years in the ministry, he retired and he and Jean moved to Pendleton, Oregon. He continued doing chaplain work for St. Anthony Hospital and enjoyed working with co-workers, working with patients in the hospital and on-call emergency room visits and also as hospice chaplain. Hospice program was extremely important to him. Keith continued to be connected to the Oregon-Idaho Conference of the United Methodist Church by serving on Board of Trustees and Camp and Retreat Ministry before his illness slowed him down.

He is survived by his wife, Jean Wise; sister Sherlyn Gregg; former wife Patricia Wise; two sons, Michael (Karyn) Wise and Matthew (Irene) Wise, and two daughters, Kathleen Edic and Kristin (Gary) Wolf. Stepsons are Randy (Lynn) Dunn and Dan Dunn. He is also survived by nephew Jerry (Jennifer) Gregg and niece Sondra (Dennis) Groff, and great-nieces and nephews. Grandchildren are Heather Edic, Megan Edic, Michael Wise Jr., Sarah Manalisay, and Riley, Chris and Maya Wise, and stepgrandchildren are Tristan, Morgan, Cody and Mackenzie Dunn.

Memorial donations can be made to PAWS in Pendleton, Ore.; Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue online, or to your favorite charity.

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