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Kieth Pike, one of Southern California’s most experienced, respected and colorful swimming officials, died July 19 after a sudden bout with ketoacidosis, an acidic blood condition, his wife, Jo Ann, said Monday.
Pike, 84, started officiating high school meets in Southern California in 1962 and continued until 2017, the year he received the Ed Ruth Excellence in Officiating Award from Southern California Swimming.
“I respected him every time I had him deck,” veteran swimming official Richard Davis said. “I knew the deck was covered.”
Pike officiated the CIF-Southern Section swimming championships and was a fixture at Long Beach Wilson-hosted Klaus Barth Invitational.
The Westminster resident also officiated USA Swimming meets and high school water polo matches. He was past president of the Southern California Aquatics Federation.
“Kieth was one our best officials,” veteran referee John Montrella said.
Pike indeed spelled his first name Kieth, a unique flair picked by his mother.
Pike swam and played water polo at Long Beach Jordan High before serving in the Air Force from 1956-1962.
After the Air Force, he began working as the pool attendant/lifeguard at Long Beach Millikan High’s indoor pool. He balanced the position with his referee assignments.
“He enjoyed (officiating) because he was there for the students and the athletes,” Jo Ann said.
Pike met Jo Ann, his wife of nearly 35 years, while at the Long Beach Millikan pool.
He is survived by children, Keith, Kevin, Michael, Randy, Bryan and Wendi, ex-wife Suzanne and several grandchildren.
A funeral service is being planned for Riverside National Cemetery in August.
“His zest for life and laughter were contagious and irresistible,” the Pike family wrote in a tribute. “He was silly and loud, dedicated and strong, dynamic and deep. … Kieth’s voice will always be with us, cracking jokes, brightening our days and urging us to be be better.”