Former coach, real estate agent Abens dies | News, Sports, Jobs – Fort Dodge Messenger

Nov 3, 2023
-Submitted photo
Keith Abens is pictured recently.
WEBSTER CITY — When Keith Abens left Iowa State University as a champion in the early 1970s, he came to Webster City where he was a head wrestling coach.
Abens, who was 72, died Wednesday of a heart attack. He had retired to Arnolds Park.
“He gave back,” is how Ted Larson put it.
Larson, himself a former head wrestling coach at Webster City High School, said Abens would show student athletes moves during practices long after he ceased coaching and became the owner of a real estate agency in Webster City.
“He was runner up in the nation in 1973 and he was head coach at Webster City 1974 to 1978,” Larson said.
At Iowa State, Abens was a two-time All-American from Humboldt. He was the 145-pound Iowa High School State Wrestling champion in 1967, and 154-pound champion in 1968 and 1969.
After graduating from Iowa State in 1973, Abens and his wife, Jo, worked as teachers and coaches before they launched their 40-year real estate careers. They retired from Abens Realty in Webster City in 2017.
Of course, there were other sides to Abens. One of them, according to a 2021 story in the N’West Iowa Review, was as a musician.
“The warm summer breeze weaves its way through the trees as the sun’s rays sift through the leaves.
“Carried on the wind is a sound that will surely spark a smile.
“Ukuleles, played in unison, by a group of folks dedicated to this happy little instrument.
“This is not some chain of tropical islands.
“This is the Iowa Great Lakes. And here the Boji Strummers meet once a week, year-round, to strum and sing along to their favorite songs,” it reads.
“Keith Abens recalled the story of singing ‘A White Sport Coat (And a Pink Carnation)’ at family reunions during his childhood, so when he found that tune in the songbook he knew it was one he would enjoy playing.”
Yes, he was also a Boji Strummer.
A memorial service for Abens, who was born in 1951, will be held at 4 p.m.Nov. 12, at First Lutheran Church in West Okoboji. A visitation will immediately follow the service on Sunday at the Majestic Pavilion in Arnolds Park from 5 to 8 p.m. An additional visitation will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 9, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1229 Kathy Lane, Webster City.
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