NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FL (BRAIN) — More than 100 friends and family, many from the bike world, gathered here at Bethune Beach Park Saturday to remember Bill Keith, a long-time industry member and athlete who died suddenly in January at age 56.
Keith was a former retailer, a sales rep and a product manager for Cannondale and SRAM. Many of his former colleagues met at the beach and recalled his life. Several then paddled out into a stormy Atlantic and spread his ashes after a few more words.
"Bill was one of those guys who's just got this very outgoing, very super-motivating kind of personality, always running running wide open," said Bill Ruddell, Cannondale's marketing manager. Ruddell and Keith met in the late 90's at Cannondale and instantly clicked, Ruddell said.
"We had a lot in common and he was a guy I loved to travel with. He would motivate you and fill out the day with lots of great activities."
Keith's wife Pam continues to work for Cannondale, and many current and former Cannondale employees attended the service. At the time of his death, Keith was a road product manager for SRAM and worked in Chicago; SRAM held a memorial for him there in January.
Interbike managing director Pat Hus, who worked with Keith at Cannondale, said industry friends are starting to make plans for an annual memorial ride in Keith's honor.
"He just was so well-loved across the industry," Hus said.
Friends are being asked to continue to support one of Keith's favorite charities, World Bicycle Relief, where a web page has been set up for donations.