Kevin Blue Wing Keating
March 2nd, 1958 - February 5th, 1994



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Kevin Murray Keating, aka "Blue Wing", left us for his lonely flight on a cold February night. We all have words we can never tell him, and questions we can never ask, but one thing we all know is that he will always be dearly loved, missed and never forgotten. He is survived by his mother, Ellen, wife Debbie, children Joseph, James & Jackqueline, brothers Tony and Bernie, and countless heartbroken family members and friends. He is also the grandfather of several precious grandchildren, who will never get to know what it's like to be held and cherished by him: April, Brian, Mikaela, Matthew, Kevin and Draven.

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Angel, by Sara McLachlan
"You spend all your time waiting for that second chance
For a break that would make it OK
There's always some reason to feel not good enough
And it's hard at the end of the day

I need some distraction, oh, beautiful release
Memory seep from my veins
Let me be empty, oh, and weightless
And maybe I'll find some peace tonight

In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear

You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

You're so tired of the straight line, and everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back
The storm keeps on twisting, you keep on building the lies
That you make up for all that you lack

It don't make no difference
Escaping one last time, it's easier to believe
In this sweet madness, oh, this glorious sadness
That brings me to my knees

In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear

Oh, you are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

In the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here"

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The above song was written about suicide. Defeated by the demons of depression in an unforgiving society, Kevin took his own life. Most of us can't begin to imagine the depths of his pain, but we would give anything to go back in time and take some of the burden from his aching soul. Now it is up to the rest of us to manage our lives without him; his pain has ended, but ours has barely begun. I pray that all who knew Kevin remember the man behind the wall of pain. He was a man who loved his children, his family and his friends. He loved nature, and was at home in the woods amongst the trees, plants and wildlife. He also loved art, cars and trucks, music and singing. His nickname was inspired by the song that he was always asked to sing at gatherings, and that thus became his trademark. We never knew how prophetic that song would be.

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Blue Wing, by The Tom Russel Band

"He had a blue wing tattooed on his shoulder
Well it might have been a blue bird I don't know
But he'd get stone drunk and talk about Alaska
The salmon boats and 45 below

He said he got that blue wing up in Walla Walla
And his cellmate there was Little Willy John
And Willy he was once a great blues singer
And Wing and Willy wrote 'em up a song. They said…

It's dark in here; can't see the sky
But I look at this blue wing and I close my eyes
And I fly away beyond these walls
Up above the clouds where the rain don't fall
On a poor man's dream.

They paroled Blue Wing in August, of 1963
He moved north picking apples to the town of Wenatchee
Then winter finally caught him in a run down trailer park
On the south side of Seattle where the days grow gray and dark

And he drank and he dreamt of visions when the salmon still ran free
And his fathers' fathers crossed that wild old Bering Sea
And the land belonged to everyone and there were old songs yet to sing
Now it's narrowed down to a cheap hotel and a tattooed prison wing

It's dark in here; can't see the sky
But I look at this blue wing and I close my eyes
And I fly away beyond these walls
Up above the clouds where the rain don't fall
On a poor man's dream.

Well he drank his way to LA, and that's where he died
And no one knew his Christian name and there was no one there to cry
But I dreamt there was a funeral, a preacher and a cheap pine box
And half way through the service, Blue Wing began to talk. He said…

It's dark in here; can't see the sky
But I look at this blue wing and I close my eyes
And I fly away beyond these walls
Up above the clouds where the rain don't fall
On a poor man's dream.
Hey hey, On a poor man's dream
Hey hey, On a poor man's dream"

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As Kevin's daughter, I'm begging for your help to end the legacy of suicide in our society. If anyone you know displays any signs of considering suicide, no matter how vague, please talk to them, and get help. If you feel suicidal, please call someone - family, friends, clergy, your local crisis number or 911. Remember - where there is life, there is hope. Once you're gone, that's the end. All that's left are people like me, facing broken hearts, shattered lives, lost dreams, and endless questions, desperate for closure that will never come.
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Daddy, we all love you and miss you more than words can ever say. While you soar above the clouds, you live forever in our hearts.

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