I found the full obit referenced above:
C. Keith Birkenfeld
Oct.20, 1938 to Sept. 7, 2005
Mr. Serendipity is gone.
C. Keith Birkenfeld, educator, world traveler and philanthropist, died September 7, 2005 at the Island Health and Rehabilitation Center on Bainbridge Island. He would have been 67 on October 20.
His death followed ongoing complications from open-heart surgery performed 25 years ago, which forced his retirement from the Bellevue School District, where he spent 20 years as a high school teacher of international relations and U.S. History and later as an administrator. He spent the last 25 years living on Bainbridge Island in a condominium overlooking the ferry dock and shipyard. He was seldom home because he took seriously his doctor's advice to take sea voyages to restore his health and along the way he met and became friends with celebrities from the children of the Shah of Iran to Sonny Bono, Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Ginger Rogers and many more.
He was a true beneficiary of serendipity. Serendipity is when you drop a quarter and while you are looking for it, you find a diamond ring. The world was full of diamond rings for Birkenfeld. A lifelong Republican, when he was a teenager working for the party, he so impressed President Eisenhower that he invited Birkenfeld to visit Palm Springs after he left the presidency. Palm Springs so impressed Birkenfeld that he spent every winter there for many years, participating and hosting many celebrity events. He also taught a class in international relations which was attended by many of the other snowbirds who came there.
Once asked to escort a woman cruise companion to a formal affair, he accepted and found himself arm in arm with a Russian princess, the Princess Paula Melikoff, who remained his friend through the years.
He was invited by Lord and Lady Robin Hankey to go to London to see the Queen open the new session of Parliament. The Hankeys joined his circle of permanent friends.
On a cruise, he struck up a friendship with a Norwegian couple that liked him so much they included him in their parties. He found later they owned the shipping line.
While vacationing in New Zealand, he visited a horse-racing farm and while volunteering his assistance, he was asked to lead some horses from one place to another. When car drivers on the adjacent road stopped to gawk, he learned that the big chestnut-colored horse slobbering on his shoulder and kissing his ear was the legendary Van Der Hum, who had just won the Melbourne Cup, their equivalent of the Kentucky Derby.
When he awoke one night in 1982 with the memory in his head of Kate Smith singing "God Bless America," he remembered seeing a picture of her, 73 and wheelchair bound, unable to speak or sing, and called state Republican chair Jennifer Dunn to urge that the singer be awarded the Medal of Freedom, the highest medal the U.S. can give a civilian. President Reagan presented it.
Birkenfeld had pictures taken of himself with these people but forever regretted one he did not get. Working at the time as a staffer for President Nixon and then U.S. Representative Thomas Pelly (R-Bainbridge Island), he was asked by a friend to arrange a visit with the friend's Congressman. He did so but declined to be in the picture the Congressman had taken because he'd never heard of him before. "Who ever heard of Gerald Ford?" he asked.
He once answered the telephone to hear a voice ask if he knew who it was. "It sounded like Rich Little imitating Richard Nixon," said Birkenfeld. "You are close," said Nixon, who was known for making calls and keeping in touch with former staffers after his retirement.
Birkenfeld was reared in Bremerton as a part of the only documented eight-generation family, the McPhersons, who arrived in Seattle in 1888. Keith was the sixth generation. His aunt, Margaret McPherson, was Kitsap County auditor for many years. A McPherson daughter married into the Keith family after whom Keith is named. He was a 1956 Bremerton High School graduate. He got his degree in education from Washington State University in 1960 and while there headed the biggest Young Republican Club in the nation. He received a postgraduate degree in 1963 from the University of Washington, in 1975 from Seattle University and did additional graduate work at the University of Hawaii.
His parents, the late Calvin B. and Isabelle (Keith) Birkenfeld, lived on Marine Drive in Bremerton and were friends of the family of Jimmy Wakely, the country singer who appeared annually in Seattle at the Belfair Barn and visited the Birkenfeld home often.
It was Keith Birkenfeld's wish to be described in his obituary as educator, world traveler and philanthropist. As an educator, he was first to stage political conventions with high school classes like those held by the parties. He was the recipient of the 1991 Washington State University Alumni Achievement Award "for outstanding leadership, participation and service to his profession and community," bringing distinction to his Alma Mater. As a world traveler, he made 405 commercial flights, 22 ship trips to more than 50 countries and 6 continents. As a philanthropist, he was generous to countless groups, from the Salvation Army to the Bloedel Reserve.
He was state vice president and trustee of the 4-H Foundation, of which he was a member from 1974. He was founding board member of the Bellevue Art Museum, and a member of the state board of Keep Washington Green for 15 years. He was a lifetime member of The Seattle Foundation, Seattle Opera Association, Kitsap County Historical Society, University of Washington's President's Club, Pioneer Association of Washington State, Seattle Symphony Musical Legacy Society, Pioneer Association of Birkenfeld, Oregon, Friends of Hearst Castle, KCTS TV-9 Legacy Society, WSU Foundation Century Two Club and Maryhill Museum of Art.
Mr. Birkenfeld is survived by a sister, Sylvia of Rhode Island and a brother, Harry of Silverdale. A celebration of his life and musical concert is scheduled for October 12th at 1:00 pm at the Bainbridge Commons at the Bainbridge Island Senior Center (walking distance from the ferry). In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to the Swedish Heart Institute at Swedish Medical Center Foundation, 747 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122-4307.