Category Archives: Seattle

Enter Lila Jean

After the war ended, Les Keiter went right back to Centralia-Chehalis to his old job at KELA.  Les’ job was the same, but Les has changed, and he found himself wanting more…

This is where the matchmaker kicks in.  Les’ mother, Dolly Keiter, re-introduced Les to the kid sister to one of his fraternity brothers.  

Her name was Lila Hammerslough.  Lila was 7 years his junior. I say “re-introduced,” because when Les first met Lila, that seven-year difference was the difference between a young adult and a child.  Five years and a World War later, that wasn’t true anymore – Lila had grown up!

As Les would say, it wasn’t love at first sight, but one date led to another, and he described the turning point as follows:

One day, Les took Lila on a date to a Seattle Rainiers baseball game.  While watching the game, Les began explaining how to keep score.  She put up with him for about 3 innings, then she took the program from him and scored the game herself – even better than he did!  Unbeknownst to him, Lila Jean Hammerslough had been the sports editor of her school newspaper.  She had been named “Outstanding Baseball Fan” by a local paper, and she regularly listened to baseball games on the radio, announced by Leo Lassen (Les’ hero).  Lila was also a heck of a softball player!  Perhaps Dolly Keiter had known all of this when she made the re-introduction, but Les Keiter was completely surprised – and smitten.

From Lila’s perspective, they had been dating for some time and close to falling in love, so she didn’t want to make a scene about the scoring business.  She said, “I didn’t know if I should play dumb or show him my smarts.”  Les, it turned out, loved her smarts.

Les and Lila were married Sept. 9th, 1948 in Seattle, WA, and their honeymoon was an adventure!  Lila had never been east of Olympia, Washington.  So, they flew to Chicago (and saw the Cubs), to Cleveland (saw the Indians) to Niagara Falls, and to New York City, where they saw every team, Broadway Show, and Big Band they could.  Then, they took in the sights in Washington D.C. before the happy couple ended their honeymoon in Los Angeles.  From there, they drove up the coast and then inland to their first home: an upstairs apartment in Modesto, California.

Les Keiter’s Youth, Briefly

Keiter started in the Montlake District of Seattle, with parents Jake and Dolly Keiter, where they lived until he was 4 years old.  From there, the family moved to the Capitol Hill District, and in 1923, Les’ younger brother, George “Buddy” Keiter, was born.

Les and Buddy Keiter at Camp Orkila

From age 9, Les and Buddy spent summers at Camp Orkila on Orcas Island of the San Juan Islands.   Les’ prime interest at Orkila was Softball – he played until he got blisters, and then played some more.  At 9 years old, it was at Camp Orkila that Les informed his camp buddies that he intended to announce from Yankee Stadium when he was grown.  About 30 years later, that dream came true.  And in 1997, the baseball field at Camp Orkila was renamed “Keiter Park”.


Les attended Seward Elementary School and then Broadway High School in Seattle.

He got his college education at University of Washington, where he was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity.  Les Keiter graduated in 1941.  While attending U of W, Les played on the Baseball team in left field.   He could be heard announcing the entire game, except when he was up at bat.  Spectators came and crowds increased just to hear Les Keiter announce.

A side note: Les’s father, Jake Keiter, was quite an athlete in his youth.  He was asked to try out for the Chicago White Sox.