After 24 years in the speaking business, millions of those touched by Keith Harrell are mourning the loss of the motivational speaker, writer, and mentor. The vibrant and contagiously positive professional devoted the last quarter-century of his life to inspiring and encouraging people to evaluate their attitude as they developed strategies and methods to lead a happy and healthy life.
Originally from Seattle, Harrell is a hometown hero thanks to his high school years as a key player on the undefeated 1973-74 Super Dogs who went on to win the state title. Keith earned his Bachelor’s Degree in community service from Seattle University before embarking on a 14-year career with IBM where he was recognized as one of the top sales and training instructors. In 1997, Keith received the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association. In August 2000, he was inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame, a lifetime achievement award given for speaking excellence and professionalism.
Above all, Harrell was a man who practiced what he preached, and lived his life that way up until the day he passed. The 6-foot-7 basketball star stood out in the crowd because of this height, but was remembered because of the motivation, inspiration and love he gave to others. Harrell’s passion was to change people’s lives for the better, which was evident in the speaking presentations he delivered to millions of people, his books, articles and interviews, as well as in his personal life. Whether he was traveling, dining, or speaking, Keith saw everyday interactions as an opportunity to brighten someone’s life and encourage them to realize the great opportunity in front of them.
Known to many as, “Dr. Attitude,” Harrell’s classic response to a greeting was his upbeat slogan,
“Super Fantastic.” Harrell was known as a man who treated all persons with the upmost respect and aimed to move people with his attitude and outlook. Harrell understood the emotional and mental effects of positive thinking and worked to help others lead happier lives. Keith loved the Lord with all his heart and soul and felt it was a blessing to be able to serve God in this powerful way.
“I have never known a man whose heart and mind were so filled with love and kindness,” said Ross Shafer, friend and fellow speaker. “No matter what frustration I shared with Keith, I was always energized and encouraged by hearing his voice and positive advice. I know he will watch over all of us - and guide us by his teachings, his example of how to live life, and his ongoing presence. Keith's light is so bright he will always shine in our hearts and in the hearts of the people he touched.”
“This week I lost someone who truly impacted my life. Keith was my friend and one of the greatest motivational speakers I have ever known,” said Jim Doyle, President of Doyle and Associates. “Keith believed and lived the title of his book, Attitude is Everything. His attitude and energy impacted millions.”
Harrell (KeithHarrell.com) was diagnosed with cancer in May 2010. He was recovering and in physical therapy with positive thoughts regarding the road ahead when he passed on Monday afternoon in Loma Linda, CA. Services will be held in Seattle, Washington. Harrell is survived by his father, Wendell, his mother, Florence, sister, Toni, her husband, Michael, his only niece, Tania, and many Aunts, Uncles, cousins and friends. The Harrell family request that donations be made to The American Cancer Society (teamacs.acsevents.org) and Loma Linda Medical Center Proton Radiation Center (Protons.com).
Messages to the family should be sent to: Harrell Performance Systems, Inc. - 8374 Market Street, #504, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202