Heron Keating (Courtesy Photo).

Heron Keating (Courtesy Photo).

Colorful islander will celebrate 100th birthday

Known for walking about town in her long purple coat, Heron Keating will celebrate a century of life

Heron Keating, an islander since 1989 and known for walking about town in her long purple coat, will celebrate a century of life on Saturday, May 25.

The lithe, vibrant woman who chose the name of a sea bird for herself when she was in her 50s and loves the colors purple and blue, will spend the day with family and close friends.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1919, Keating grew up in Massachusetts after her father died in an avalanche in Colorado and her mother moved the family to be close to relatives.

She went to secretarial school in Boston, and worked at the Harvard Business School Library — that’s when she met her husband, David Keating.

After the couple moved to California, Heron Keating became active with the Audubon Society, the practice of Buddhism, hiking and the arts. She spent a great deal of time walking the headlands of Mendicino, California — one of her favorite places, which also provided the inspiration for her chosen name.

Those close to her say that she “thrives on spontaneous, magical moments,” which is one reason she enjoys sitting on the bench in front of the Vashon Bookshop or a chair inside.

“People come up to me and they just introduce themselves,” she said. “I feel that everywhere I go, I am interested in who I’m with, and I care about them and that helps me. It helps me to think of others.”

— Sarah Low. (Nan Draper also contributed to this story.)

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