In the early morning hours of October 1st, 2020, amid the shadows of the Rocky Mountains, Keith Slifer’s inexorable spirit came to its final rest in his 55th year of life.
A native of Arlington Heights, Illinois, and firstborn son of Richard and Delores Slifer, Keith’s fervent drive and physical presence could only be described as larger than life. At age thirteen his 6’1″ frame towered above his classmates, making him a natural leader and an imposing presence when playing his first and favorite sport, ice hockey.
Even at an early age, Keith’s persuasiveness knew no bounds, as evidenced by his younger brother Jay’s willingness to be wrapped in cardboard and duct tape so Keith could practice his slapshot with real pucks or his ability to rally neighborhood friends to try out his self-built skateboard halfpipe.
Keith attended St. Viator High School, lettering in both Ice Hockey and Football prior to his admission to Indiana University in the fall of 1983. In a surprise to no one, Keith fast-tracked his college career, graduating Magna Cum Laude from IU’s Kelley School of Business in just three and a half years.
His banking career began like many as a credit analyst for Chicago-based American National Bank. It didn’t take long for Keith to catch the eye of senior leadership. However, he was more interested in catching the eye of his true love, Maggie Sullivan. Daily detours by Maggie’s desk got Keith into some hot water, but eventually, it also got him the girl. Keith and Maggie were wed in the spring of 1990, in Maggie’s home town of Oak Park, IL.
In the years that followed, Keith and Maggie would welcome two beautiful sons, Josh and Jack, into this world. A burgeoning career and growing family would be more than enough for most, but not for Keith, who spent the majority of his 20’s competing in dozens of marathons, triathlons, and Ironmans.
In 1997, the Slifer family began a new chapter in their lives, moving to Carmel, IN. Like their father, both young boys found a passion for ice hockey. As a coach, volunteer, and ultimately as the president of the Indy Racer’s Travel Hockey Program board, Keith was always there to support. Nothing made him prouder, and you couldn’t have a conversation with Keith that didn’t start and end with him gushing over his boys’ accomplishments.
Keith’s trajectory continued upward in the banking world, beginning in 1997 as Senior VP and Division Head at LaSalle Bank. Keith would build and mentor an impressive commercial banking team that would continually shatter revenue goals while fostering new business growth across the region. In 2005, he would be promoted to Regional Head, and in 2007 Senior VP & Market Executive of Bank of America, a position he would hold until his retirement in 2018.
With his banking career now in the rearview mirror, Keith’s entrepreneurial spirit was unleashed. He and Maggie relocated to Colorado so Keith could dive headfirst into his new venture as owner and operator of Mighty Tree, a medical and recreational dispensary. Keith flourished in this new role.
Tragically, the last chapter of Keith’s life ended long before the narrative was complete. Still, for all of us that knew him and loved him, we can find solace in knowing Keith Slifer lived life on his own terms, with exacting precision. A day in his life did not dare end until he gave it permission to do so. And while Keith will be remembered for all that he achieved, his most significant contribution to this world is perhaps the courage, passion, and support he gave willingly to so many of us to achieve our goals and dreams. May this be his legacy.
Keith is survived by his wife of 30 years, Maggie; two sons, Josh and Jack; mother Delores; brother Jay (Amy); and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Richard.
Family and friends are invited to gather on Saturday, November 28th from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm for visitation at Flanner Buchanan-Carmel. A private memorial service will follow. Masks and social distancing requirements will be observed.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Keith’s name to Harvesters-The Community Food Network in Kansas City, MO (www.harvesters.org).
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