MSGT Edward Earl Keaton
July 6, 1935 – April 24, 2021
Master Sergeant Edward Earl Keaton (Buster) died April 24, 2021, at his home in San Antonio, Texas. Mr. Keaton was born on July 6, 1935 in Nashville, Tennessee. He is preceded in death by parents Mamie and Bernice Bruce.
Ed graduated from Baxter Seminary High School in Baxter, Tennessee and attended Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tennessee. Despite his desire to go to college, Ed chose to enlist in the United States Air Force in order to see the world. He served in the United States Air Force Security Service (USAFSS) being selected as one of the top 1% of enlisted recruits. The USAFSS was a secretive, tight-knit branch of the Air Force tasked with monitoring, collecting, and interpreting electronic signals from countries all over the world. The USAFSS mission provided critical intelligence essential to U.S. cold war efforts and beyond.
The Air Force sent Ed to Yale University, Institute of Far Eastern Languages, to learn and become fluent in Korean. In 1956, Ed was stationed in Korea as a Transcriber/Translator. During his 21-year service in the Air Force, Ed was a Cryptanalyst/Radio Traffic Analyst and Surveillance/Warning Controller stationed at multiple bases and remote sites around the world and received numerous decorations to include the Air Force Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Korean Defense Service Medal. He also served as a MAJCOM Project Analyst briefing HQ USAFSS leadership on critical issues. In his last 2 years, Ed transferred to United States Air Force Recruiting Service. Ed dedicated his life to the defense of our nation and was a mentor to many young airmen.
Ed retired from the Air Force in 1975 and made San Antonio, Texas, his home. In his retirement, he had the opportunity to travel across the southern United States. His travels aided in his hobby of collecting cactus, succulents and other desert plants. He also collected shells. He loved camping, fishing and gardening. He is survived by his four children, seven grandchildren and great granddaughter; son Robert Keaton (wife Melissa and granddaughter Savannah) of Lutz, Florida; daughter Sherry Berg (husband Michael, grandson Sean, wife Megan and great granddaughter Vivienne and grandson Dane) of San Antonio, Texas; son Donald Keaton of San Antonio, Texas; and son Eddie Keaton (wife Becky and grandsons Matthew and Adam, granddaughters Alaura and Alyssa) of Alabaster, Alabama. He is also survived by brother Nelson Bruce (wife Gail and niece Tammy) of Baxter, Tennessee and niece Darlene Gilbert, Cookeville, Tennessee.
A graveside service with full military honors will be held at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery on Monday, June 28, 2021 at 11:30 am.
In keeping with Mr. Keaton’s wishes please send donations to your local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) or American Legion organizations in lieu of flowers.
Monday, June 28, 2021