Keith A. Pickering
November 5, 2017

Keith Alan Pickering, age 62, of rural Watertown, Minnesota, passed away on Nov. 5, 2017 from a car crash in Savage, Minnesota, which also claimed the life of his wife of 35 years, Nathalie J. Pickering.

Keith was born on May 3, 1955 in Hamilton, Ohio to Rev. Dr. Alan J. and Charlotte Sagmoen Pickering. He grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and graduated from Bloomington (Minnesota) Jefferson High School and the University of Kansas. On May 22, 1982 he married Nathalie J. Norton Kantrud of Watertown.

Keith made his living as a computer systems analyst and IT consulting software engineer, but he had several hobbies. He was co-author of the book First to the Pole in 2011, the story of Minnesota’s Ralph Plaisted and his snowmobile expedition to the North Pole in 1968. His interest in astronomy led him to build his own large telescope. He also published academic works in astrophysics, the history of astronomy, navigation, and exploration, which led to a career-long pursuit of research into the first voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World. He has given lectures about Columbus to academic conferences in the US and abroad, and he was a featured interviewee by National Geographic in 2007 for a television program titled Columbus The Lost Voyage on the History Channel. He created the Columbus Navigation Homepage on the internet, visited by academics and schoolchildren alike. His second book, The Lost Island of Columbus was published in June 2017.

Keith also made an appearance as a contestant on the television program Jeopardy! in 1990, and in 2012, he was a DFL candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives for District 47A.

Keith was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his sister Nancy Pickering (John Millar) of Watertown, and his brother Scott (Susan) Pickering and nephew Thomas Pickering, of Flower Mound, Texas, as well as additional family in Florida and Delaware.

A Memorial Service is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 6, 2018 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Watertown, Minnesota, with Pastor Jeff Engholm officiating. Inurnment of Keith’s ashes will be scheduled at a later date at Watertown Cemetery.