83-Year-Old Navy Veteran “Retires” From Cox South

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – An 83-year-old Navy Veteran is leaving Cox Health after being a part of the hospital for 12 years.

He is retiring from his duties there this week, but he’s not an employee.

“Hold it down a little bit, will you please? Making a lot of noise out here,” says Ed Keeth to a group of nurses walking across the skywalk at Cox South heading to the cafeteria for lunch. 

That’s usual for him. Ed doesn’t really work at the hospital, but it seems everyone at Cox South knows him.

“Where have you been? I haven’t seen you in a hundred years,” he says to another nurse.

He’s here four times a week mostly during lunch time.

“I was just coming up to have lunch with my wife and I’ve come out here to the sky-walk, and I started bullyragging the people,” he said. 

His wife Beth is the head cook at Cox South. Ed retired from the Navy 38 years ago. He says he’s always worked since until a bypass surgery slowed him down. So about twelve years ago, he found a way to stay busy doing something he enjoys.

“Keeps me alive,” he said. 

Ed comes to have lunch with his wife and then waits for her to get off work. 

“This is where I stand, in the middle here, just like this,” Ed says as he shows his usual spot right in the center of the skywalk. 

Five years ago, he even got his own name tag. His title – hall agitator.

“If they haven’t seen it before, they’ll turn around and say: did  I read that right?,” he says.

He’s made friends from the nurses and administration to the CEO.

“I’ve done such a good job at this, the CEO said he was gonna give me a raise. I’m trying to figure out what two times zero is,” he says. 

Beth is retiring this week after 29 years at Cox Health. And so is ed.

“Just missing the people you know,” said Ed. 

He says they plan to travel. 

“Now with her being retired, we can go where we want to go, stay as long as we want to stay,” he said.

Meanwhile, back in the skywalk, employees who got used to his jokes and laughs, say they’ll miss him.

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