Keith Dale Abens was born February 3, 1951, in Fort Dodge, Iowa,to Kenneth Ray Abens and Colleen Olson Abens. Keith was the middle child of three sons. He loved to tell "poor boy" stories about his childhood (possibly exaggerating), enjoying many fun times with the Olson and Abens aunts, uncles, and cousins.
At 5yrs old, he contracted spinal meningitis and the doctors told his parents he would never be very strong. Keith became the first Humboldt yo-yo champion in grade school and he never looked back. He went out for the basketball team in 9th grade and halfway through he decided to switch to wrestling. He was Humboldt's first state champion as a sophomore. He won again as a junior and Humboldt won the team Class 1A State championship. He was Humboldt's first 3 time state champion his senior year. Keith graduated from Humboldt in 1969 and received the Marvel Friesth award for the outstanding senior boy. Keith was awarded a full ride wrestling scholarship to lowa State University. On August 29, 1970,he married his high school sweetheart, Jolene (Jo) Freeburg, after their freshman year in college. Keith wrestled for ISU from 1969-1973. He won the Big 8 and was awarded the Outstanding wrestler, placed 2nd and 4th in the NCAA, was captain of the team his senior year, and won the Hugo Otopalik award for ISU Outstanding wrestler On and Off the mat. Keith graduated in 1973 with a BS degree in Industrial Education and taught 1 year at Mason City Jr High and was asst. HS wrestling coach, and then at Webster City High School and head wrestling coach for a few years, before joining his wife in the real estate business. Keith and Jo had their son, Tyler Ray,in 1977 and their daughter, Tracy Jo,in 1979. Keith was loyal to his men's morning coffee group at Leon's for over 40 years. The family enjoyed years of fun weekends at Lake Okoboji on the boat, on the dock, swimming, skiing, playing cards in the cabin with family, vacationing together, but also working hard. He was known as "Mr. Fix it" and always said "Nothing is unfixable!" Keith was very involved in community service in Webster City through Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce, Board of Realtors, and Trinity Lutheran Church. The couple worked together building Abens Realty for 43 years before retiring in 2017. He was so proud to have son Tyler come back home and carry on the family business. He had a great love for music, enjoyed playing the guitar for pleasure and at church, and having family jam sessions. He always had a hard time not crying at church to certain contemporary worship songs. They enjoyed traveling together and especially loved all 18 cruises. In retirement, they moved to Arnolds Park/Lake Okoboji and have since enjoyed their children, grandchildren, relatives, the beautiful lake, wonderful entertainment, and fun people! His greatest joy was bragging about his grandkids - Jayce, Wesley, and Hampton! Keith loved attending First Lutheran Church in Milford, playing and singing with the Boji Strummers ukulele group, TGIF at Emerald Hills Golf Club, and YMCA aqua fitness. Keith had a big presence, a booming voice, and a great life full of fun and laughter with family and friends! He will be inducted into the Humboldt Hall of Fame, now posthumously, on Nov 19, 2023. Most of all, Keith loved the Lord, thanked God every day for his many blessings, and will be our family's guardian angel from heaven. He was ready to meet the Lord.
This fundraiser hopes to raise funds for the Keith D. Abens Memorial Scholarship, which will go onto to support students from Iowa who have a passion for wrestling or music. This scholarship honors the memory of Keith, a beloved father, businessman and community leader.