Waldo T. Keating
Traverse City High School
Waldo Keating served the Traverse City education community with distinction, filling various roles over many years, including a very critical time in the history of our Catholic schools. Waldo’s dedication to his wife, Marcia, and their eight children was indicative of the commitment he brought to bear whenever he accepted a challenge.
Upon graduation from Central Michigan University, Waldo began his education career in 1953 at Muskegon Catholic Central High School. In 1966, he became athletic director and head football coach. Waldo earned his Master’s Degree in school counseling at Western Michigan University, opening another avenue to serve students. Waldo moved to St. Francis High School in 1971 and became the head football coach and athletic director for the Catholic schools, and as the assistant principal of the “annex,” the public school portion of SFHS. In 1973, his team was named the Associated Press Class C State Football Champions and Waldo was recognized as the AP Coach of the Year.
Waldo’s wisdom and skill served both the Catholic and public school systems well during this particularly challenging time as GTACS and the Traverse City Area Public Schools launched a shared-time program. GTACS Superintendent, Jerry Allore, knew he needed the “best possible people” to run the public school program in the Catholic school building. As the assistant principal of the “annex,” Waldo navigated the complex issues that the shared-time program presented. His cool demeanor, complete honesty, and his disarming sense of humor were instrumental in shaping the program into a model of cooperation.
Waldo was a people person who was at his best when working on a project with others. In turn, he had that coach’s way of bringing out the best in people of all ages. He was often heard saying, “We
can do this thing.” His discipline and determination, fused with an irrepressible spirit, inspired students, athletes, and a great number of adults to rise to the occasion in the face of tough odds.
Waldo’s career was unique in the way he blended service to both the public and private sectors. He served Traverse City Senior High School as a counselor, assistant principal, and principal. Over time, he coached football at St. Francis, TC Senior High, East Junior High, and Elk Rapids High School. Waldo began the first girls track team at St. Francis in 1974. He was a fixture as an official at TC Central cross-country and track meets. He served as the first athletic director of the new TC West High School. Waldo was inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1986, was recognized by the TC Chamber of Commerce with the Outstanding Educator Award in 1992, and received statewide recognition for his 30 years of service as a track and field official.
Waldo served on the GTACS Advisory Board and the St. Francis Parish Council. He was a persistent advocate for those in need, particularly disadvantaged students and the homeless. With his keen intellect, tinged with his Irish sense of humor, Waldo always enjoyed a good argument. On the lighter side, he volunteered at the parish office where he served as the self-described “church lady.” He also served on the TC Board of Appeals and the board of the Community Living Center. Waldo was a founding member of the TC Central and GTACS Hall of Fame programs.
Waldo was a man of abiding faith, quiet courage, and tremendous determination. He was a wonderful spouse, father, friend, educator, and mentor to many. The humble ways that Waldo lived his Catholic faith are a legacy and model for all.