Robert E. Keim: Champion of Family Life Educators — An Appreciation

Robert Keim

Robert E. Keim, Ph.D., CFLE, died peacefully at home at age 91 on Dec. 20, 2020. He was an NCFR member for 55 years and a CFLE for 32 years.

Dr. Keim championed the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) credential in his role of professor at Northern Illinois University, as a presenter and author, and through his financial support as a donor.

Dr. Keim studied and worked with families for over 60 years. He led various programs for couples and parents in over 100 settings and was certified in five evidenced-based parenting and family life related programs. He was editor of the Family Science Review from 1993-1996 and wrote numerous articles on family-related issues and professional development. He gave over 200 professional and public presentations on parenting and family issues.

Dr. Keim received a Master’s of Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion and served several churches in California as an ordained minister before pursuing his doctorate in marriage and family living at Florida State University. After short stints teaching at Florida State University and Colorado State University, he moved to DeKalb, Illinois, where he taught Family Science at Northern Illinois University for 28 years.

Following his retirement, he remained active and developed Wisdom for Parents: Key Ideas from Parent Educators, with co-editor Arminta Jacobson, Ph.D., CFLE. This book collects stories, lessons, and ideas on parenting from Certified Family Life Educators. The book was conceived during a meeting at the NCFR Annual Conference. Dr. Keim gave of his own financial resources to pay for the publication and promotional cost of the book and arranged for the contributing authors’ proceeds to be donated to the CFLE Scholarship Fund.

Dr. Keim’s efforts have provided a wonderful parenting resource which highlights the wisdom and expertise of CFLEs from around the world.  Since its publication, Wisdom for Parents has become popular with teachers and university departments alike as a resource in parenting education classes. In 2011, Dr. Keim was honored for this achievement and awarded the CFLE Special Recognition Award.

NCFR is grateful for the life and work of Dr. Keim. His positive outlook, kindness, and generosity has created a strong legacy that will enable future generations of CFLEs to become established in their careers and work to help countless families thrive.

You are invited to read Dr. Keim’s full obituary and share your thoughts and memories in his guestbook.