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Beloved sportscaster passes away

Posted April 15, 2009, 10:51 PM HST Updated April 16, 2009, 01:09 PM HST
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By Fred Guzman
MauiToday.TV

The Aloha State has lost one of its most distinctive and beloved voices with Tuesday’s passing of sportscaster Les Keiter just two weeks shy of his 90th birthday.

After spending many years calling games in major markets and covering national events, Keiter began an extended run as Hawaii’s leading sportscaster.

Personally, I have a lot of affection for Les Keiter.  He was our first guest on when we launched a sports talk show some 16 years ago.
He was scheduled to be on-air for 15 minutes.  He stayed on for an entire hour, cheerfully recalling highlights of his colorful and varied career in a trademark booming voice.

To many, he was simply “The General,” a nickname given to him by Joe Moore, his long-time on-air partner on KHON-TV, after Keiter played that role in an episode of Hawaii Five-0.

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A native of Seattle, Keiter began his broadcasting career in Hawaii after World War II.  He moved to the East Coast and made a name for  himself as a play-by-play man for baseball’s New York Giants and basketball’s New York Knicks, among others.

He is also noted for calling 14 heavyweight title fights, including Muhammad Ali’s stunning victory over Sonny Liston in their first bout – regarded as one of boxing greatest upsets at the time.

Keiter returned to Hawaii in 1971 and became the voice of the Hawaii Islanders and University of Hawaii sports as well as serving as the long-time sports anchor on KHON.

Needless to say, this gracious and kindly man will be missed.

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