Talk given at Keith’s funeral by Dan Perera on 15 December. Dan thanks Richard Bowman (ACS) and Gerry Triani (ANSTO) for their contributions. Some additional facts are noted separately at the end.

It is a sad occasion, but we are celebrating Dr. Keith Reeve’s life and his achievements.

I first contacted Keith in 1979 through the Australian Ceramic Society. In 1989 he recruited me to work at the Australian Nuclear science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) under his leadership.

If I was to talk briefly about his achievements in his professional life it would take me more than an hour. I am only highlighting just a few.

It greatly helped me to get all the facts from his book “A Predictable Life?” – my life story and CV. Certainly Keith was predictable – calm, helpful, honorable, dependable, supportive, always there as a good listener. He was a quiet man and was an excellent leader.

He completed his BSc Hons and MSc at the University of Tasmania and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Leeds in 1954.

In 1987 ANSTO initiated advanced ceramics and Keith was the Manager of this project. There were more than 60 staff working under him. Both in Synroc and Advanced ceramics.  His work resulted in many publications and overseas visits to plan collaboration on Synroc and advanced ceramics. Keith retired officially in 1992 but worked as a Visiting Fellow for several years more.

Keith’s interest in the Australian Ceramic Society started in the 1960s with a NSW based body, where Keith assisted in forming a national Australian Ceramic Society in 1970. He served as Federal President from 1974 to 1976, and then as Federal Secretary for 19 years. I took over from him in 1995. In 1981 he was awarded Distinguished Honorary Life Membership of the Society. The Journal of the Australian Ceramic Society was launched in 1965, and Keith was its editor from 1965 to 1985.

Let me highlight five of his achievements:

  • Elected Fellow of the Institute of Ceramics;
  • Membership of the Academy of Ceramics (one of the prestigious awards in ceramics);
  • Emeritus Membership of the American Ceramic Society, conferred in 1994;
  • Australian Ceramic Award in 1996 for outstanding achievement in ceramic research and education; and
  • With the sponsorship of the Australian Ceramic Society, he was awarded the Membership of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1997.

Today I like to announce that the Australian Ceramic Society intends to instigate a perpetual scholarship or award in Keith’s honor.

When Keith moved to Woolaware shores Retirement village, Shanthi, my wife and I took him for lunch every month until Covid put a stop to it. He was looking forward to this outing. His favorite restaurant was St George Leagues Club buffet. He certainly enjoyed the food although not eating much. He was amazed and laughed at seeing the enormous plates of food of others.

We had an enjoyable time at his 90th Birthday celebration. Even at that age he took a keen interest in what was happening at ANSTO and the Australian Ceramic Society.

I would like to conclude with the epilogue from his book,

God gave me certain talents and helped me to make good use of them.

He has put me to many tests, but none that I couldn’t cope with.

He didn’t take away the pain I experienced at various times of my life, but in a real sense He helped me to cope with each trial and emerge a stronger person.

He was a hero to all who knew him. He is in God’s arms.

Goodbye Keith.

Additional facts

  • Keith has over 200 publications, including book chapters.
  • More than 100 invited presentations.
  • Helped in the establishment of an ACS/ Ceramic Society of Japan Joint Ceramic Award for one young ceramist to travel each way for short term study.
  • Organised the ACS/Korean Ceramic Society Agreement on Cooperation in Advanced Ceramics in 1994.