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Michael Keathley, head of Gov. Blunt's Office of Administration, dies

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – Michael Keathley, Commissioner of the Missouri Governor's Office of Administration, died this morning, following a long battle with cancer.

Keathley served as Senate Administrator before being appointed Office of Administration Commissioner by Governor Blunt at the start of his administration.

He's best known for helping craft Blunt's controversial first budget, which cut benefits to more than 100,000 Medicaid recipients.

In a statement, Blunt called Keathley "a tremendous public servant who helped fix a broken state government with great competence and skill."

Blunt ordered all U.S. and Missouri flags at state facilities in Cole and Stoddard counties to fly at half-staff in memory of Keathley.

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder knew Keathley for nearly 40 years, dating back to when they were in the Boy Scouts together.

"I have known him and counted him a friend since then...you talk to anybody who worked for him or with him, (and) they all say that Mike was among the finest people they ever worked with, that he had a great head for business, and for analyzing any problem that came before us," Kinder said.

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan says Keathley helped her get through her own recent health crisis.

"After I was diagnosed a couple of years ago with breast cancer, Mike reached out to me and was really kind and checked in throughout the time of my treatments to see how I was doing, and so it was a very human, personal thing that he did and it meant a lot," Carnahan said.

Michael Keathly was 50 years old; he passed away just over three weeks before what would have been his 51st birthday.

He is survived by his wife and two sons.

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