Raymond Harry KEACH



We record the death 0f Raymond Harry Keach on August 29th 2001. He would have been 89years old on September 15th.

 He was without question the father, and for all' of the last 51 years, the life blood and moving force of this organisation. In 1950 he, with the late Doris Green, decided to form a Belgian Congo Study Circle. In February of 1951, at Doris Green's residence the society was formed.

In the following 25 years Ray served as the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Bulletin Editor (writing many of the articles therein), the Exchange Packet Secretary, the Librarian and the center of the Study Circle's activities. When others took over some of his duties - the Bulletin - the Packet -the treasurer, etc. he continued to work just as hard on Study Circle work. Until a few years ago he was our auctioneer, describing (with great accuracy) and listing hundreds of lots. After each auction he filled the tsk of mailing of the lots to the successful bidders and collected the proceeds for the sellers. He was also instrumental in the creation of our highly respected Expert Committee of which he was an active member until his death.

A Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society (London), he served as consultant to their expert committee on stamps of the Belgian Congo. The Royal honoured him with its Society Medal for the years 1983-1984. His articles in various publications are legion. To name but a few - the Waterlow Society had the benefit, among others, of one on printing (which we reprinted), one on perforations; we published his catalogue of the known part perforation varieties, and this publication had his Vice Presidential column reporting new discoveries, and article after article, throughout all these 50 years. So much knowledge -so freely shared. He co-produced the Heim­-Keach work on postmarks, gave many displays with erudite comments freely at the Royal, the Waterlow Society, his local stamp society and most importantly at our meetings. I know he was working on new research concerning the airmail sheetlets when he fell ill.

Only a few months ago, he and I spent 2 days at his breakfast room table plating the 1910 25 centime issue. (By coincidence it is the doubling of the natives on some of these stamps which led him into plating 50 years ago). We would look at a stamp - some scratch or dot would appear and he would say  “that is an old friend” - and name its’ position. When he visited here we would bury our noses in the stamps for days at a time and his comments would pour forth until I begged for time to absorb it all.

I remember him as a delightful trave1hng companion. I see him standing with my wife, in the cold wind and rain at Tintagel (in the southwest of England). I remember him crossing Belgium and Holland as we visited war sites, museums, cities and country side. I remember our quiet evenings both at Tadworth and here at my home, he with his ubiquitous pipe and I with my small libation speaking of stamps,  politics, World War Il, the problems of the world, so many, many things. I remember his appreciation of the beauties of our fabulous New England fall colors and I remember him as one whose enthusiasm for the joy and pleasure of the study of the stamps of the Belgian Congo never flagged. He was above ail, a fine gentleman - a privilege and pleasure to know. The Study Circle has Iost a giant and I a mentor and friend. We shall miss him greatly.

Edwin Lavitt.