Community surprises Columbiana Co. hospice patient with car show

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WYTV) – A hospice patient from Columbiana County was surprised with a classic car show Thursday afternoon.

Cars have been Bob Keister’s lifelong passion and obsession since opening his own used car lot in the ’70s.

“He was in the car business and the ones he liked, he kept,” said his wife, Ruth.

Arby’s Car Cruise, a not-for-profit charitable organization, and Covington Skilled Rehabilitation collaborated to “Make It Happen” for Keister, who has a form of cancer. They hosted the show in his honor.

“It was a surprise to both of us, a nice surprise. He loves cars, so I was happy knowing it would make him happy,” Ruth said.

Enthusiasts were asked to bring out their classic cars to show off for him, whose only wish was to be surrounded by cars and a group of people that shared his interest.

“It actually started with our hospice nurse,” said Michelle Gongaware, Senior Independence Transitional Liasion at Covington. “We wanted to just recreate the perfect day.”

“He wanted to have cars and he wanted to talk to car guys. So now he has different vehicles from the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s to look at,” said coordinator Gene Johnson.

Despite his cool demeanor, Keister said he couldn’t pick a favorite even if he tried.

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