Keith L. Burrowes aka “The Judge”

November 12, 1933


December 22, 2020

Keith L. Burrowes aka “The Judge”

November 12, 1933


December 22, 2020

Keith L. Burrowes passed Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, in Portland, Oregon. He died of natural causes peacefully in his sleep.

He was born in 1933 in Polson, to Wilbur and Aldene Burrowes.

Keith graduated from Polson High School in 1951. He served in the U.S. Military in the Korean War. He graduated from the University of Montana Law School in 1961. He was Roosevelt County Attorney in Wolf Point for six years before joining the U.S. Attorney’s office in Billings in 1969, and went on to become a Federal Administrative Law Judge within the U.S. Department of Interior in 1977. He served on Justice Department Task Forces on Indian matters and instructed at schools held for tribal court judges. He was nationally known as an expert in Indian Law.

Keith married Beverly Werner of Poplar in May of 1963. To this union, two daughters were born, Valerie and Lynette.

Keith retired in 1996. He and his wife Beverly of 54 years spent many of their golden years traveling and golfing.

Survivors include his daughter, Lynette M. Burrowes and her husband David R. McDonald of Beaverton, Oregon; son-in-law Brett W. Godfrey of Billings. He was preceded in death by his wife, Beverly; his daughter, Valerie; parents; two brothers and a sister.

Cremation has taken place. Memorial services will be scheduled in the future.

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5 thoughts on “Keith L. Burrowes aka “The Judge””

  1. Our condolences. Keith was a family friend for a long time. We will remember his kindness. Now he and Puggy can continue their adventures.
    Doug and Ann Berg

  2. Message from Lynette Burrowes, daughter.

    My father, Keith L Burrowes passed in the early hours of Tuesday, December 22nd. He went peacefully in his sleep from natural causes. I was fortunate to spend the prior morning with him. We sat and held hands and I read recently received Christmas cards and letters from family and friends.

    Dad had been in Oregon with me since my mother passed in late 2017. Unfortunately, Dementia crept into his life and I made the decision that it was best we were together. I knew he was leaving behind dear friends, family and son-in law, Brett, who loved him dearly. I also knew I was his Champion and we needed each other. That was the best thing I could have done. We had three wonderful years together. Dad and I and my husband, Dave, spent time together at birthdays and holidays, we went to the Zoo and the Coast, we visited the Tulip Festival and I visited almost daily where we worked many puzzles. Dad and I spoke on the phone daily when the pandemic restrictions took effect.

    I cannot say that I have fully accepted that Dad is gone. I know his death is a fact, but my mind still thinks I should be able to go see him again after the pandemic restrictions are lifted. That will not be the case and that fact brings tears to my eyes. I do know my father is with God and family that have gone before him and he is at peace. I take comfort in that knowledge.

    My father was a great man. He came from humble beginnings in Polson, Mt. He attended college for couple of years prior to joining the U.S. Army and serving in the Korean War. He returned to MT where he earned a BA and continued his education to receive a LLB from the University of Montana School of Law in 1961.

    Upon graduation from the U of M, he made his way to Poplar, MT. He met Mom and they were married in 1963. He was the County Attorney as well as held a private practice in Roosevelt County for several years. He was a pioneer in getting the Poplar Bridge built over the Missouri River. In 1969 he accepted a position in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Billings. In the late 70’s, Dad accepted a position as a Federal Administrative Law Judge for the Department of Interior. He became known nationally as an expert in Indian Law. He held this position until retirement in 1996. At that time, my parents traveled a bit and golfed their way well into the Golden Years.

    Dad was an unwavering family man. He and mom were married 54 years. There are so many fond memories. Dad was kind and fair and always listened. He had an infectious laugh that he shared with many. I am humbled by my father’s commitment to life and am so blessed to be his daughter. I will forever miss him. I know he is here with me in spirit and in that I take comfort.

    I Love You, Dad!

  3. Dawn and Gene Eckhardt

    We sure enjoyed golfing with Keith and Bev for many years at Laurel Golf Club. They were such nice people and fun to play golf with. We miss those times together. Every once in awhile we had parties in the back yard and loved their company. Sure will miss them and will cherish the memories.

  4. My father spent many years working with The Judge at the Billings Courthouse. My Dad enjoyed his company and spoke of him fondly. I personally have happy memories of Mr. Burrowes taking my siblings and me on a snowmobile ride back behind our house in Billings. My sincere condolences to the family.

  5. Thank you for the touching tribute to your father, Lynette. I’ve known Keith since I was a boy. My father, Dan Boos, was also an Administrative Law Judge. He and Keith worked together for years. I remember having lunch with Keith and my father in the old federal building (now the Stillwater Building) cafeteria. Later in life I knew Keith as a board member of Billings Federal Credit Union, where I am employed. Keith was always thoughtful, deliberate and fair. When he spoke, people listened.

    He was a great man! Please accept condolences from the Boos family.

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