Last week several members of our team traveled to Baraboo to attend the memorial service for a teammate struck down by cancer. Keith Nechvatal served the clients of Bella Domicile for over thirty years, installing cabinets, countertops and performing a variety of other specialized craftsman duties. He was a co-worker that everyone loved and aspired to be
We learned at the memorial service that Keith grew up on a farm in Iowa-Grant County and was an all-star athlete in High School. The skills he learned that carried him throughout life were more than likely honed on that farm. And, the team approach that benefited him and we at Bella Domicile are rooted in those early days of school. Keith was quiet, locked in, and engaged. Friendly, but not overbearing. He was the neighbor down the street that would cancel his plans for the weekend to spend time with you building a deck or installing a swing set for your kids.
“Will it be Keith?” was a question often asked when scheduling an appointment with a client. Keith was in high demand, which was a delight for management, but a challenge in managing the other installers.
Clients loved him and loved the level of service and respect he showed to every homeowner, builder, or remodeling contractor. Although he had plenty of reasons to, he never complained. It was that “Git’er Done” mentality that attracted many to him.
Three words sum up Keith’s character: Care. Love. Kindness. Three simple words that personified who he was, how he showed up every day, and the indelible imprint he left on those around him.
Care: In a world that is all me, me, me, centric, Keith was more focused on those around him. He might have been the role model to which Noah Webster used to define the word. Instead of trying to articulate it, Keith would choose just to live it. Concern and care for others was his motto, and boy did he deliver. Need help on a project? His response would be, “I’ll be right over.” Have an urgent need that can’t wait until tomorrow? A typical response we’d hear in the office was, “I’ll stop what I’m doing and make it happen.” Caring for others was an everyday event for him.
Love: Keith loved his family. He was so proud of his children and grandchildren. The stories he told and the photos he shared provided evidence of what love is. Keith would often end his shift to visit, help out, or simply look forward to playing with his grandchildren. Love is a two-way street, and the outpouring of it at his memorial service served as a reminder of how much others loved him.
Kindness: Regardless of the circumstance, Keith was kind. Perhaps, it dovetailed nicely into the caring attribute he possessed. Keith was helpful to everyone. He never let his opinions of others impact or reflect how he responded to any situation. His kindness rubbed off in many ways. He was reliving stress, easing tension, and picking someone up when kicked down—even creating introspection of those around him. Keith was kind to everyone.
While saddened that he is gone, we rejoice in knowing him, his legacy, and the impact he had on our world. And, the character traits we should aspire to be – more like Keith.
If he were here today, I’m confident he’d end this post with his trademark, “Judas Priest,” I had a great life!