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Keith Gilmore was born and raised at Callaway, Nebraska, where he worked a mixed farming and ranching operation with his father. He later attended and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in animal science. After returning from World War II, he taught agriculture under the GI Bill for the further education of returning veterans. With his new family, he went back to the farm and at the same time worked a part-time job as one of the first field representatives for the American Hereford Journal. Those duties brought him to the Calgary Bull Sale for several years before assuming the management of The Canadian Hereford Digest for its new owner in 1956. Keith Gilmore soon became the sole proprietor of the magazine and served as its editor and publisher until 1986. Throughout his lifetime, he held as a high priority the advanced education of young people, especially those with agricultural backgrounds.

The original concept for a scholarship foundation came from Duncan Porteous, then secretary-manager of the Canadian Hereford Association. Prior to the passing of Keith Gilmore in 1987, Mr. Porteous discussed the idea with him and together they drew up a list of people who would serve as the first Board of Trustees. To them would fall the responsibility of setting policy and awarding scholarships. Sitting on the first board were Donald Cross (chairman), Walter Blume, J.R. (Jock) Blacklock, Chris Sutter and W.W. Donaldson. Walter Blume is still serving and with them are George Edgar, Kurt Gilmore, Joy Cross, Neal Church, Cathy Lasby and John Blacklock. Edward Jupp also sat on the board for several years and Duncan Porteous acted as secretary up until 2009. Rounding out this list of volunteers was Bobbie Beck, who was responsible for a mountain of paperwork and Bob Poole of Maertens-Poole Chartered Accountants - both of whom have donated their services since the organization was formed. The Canadian Hereford Association, effective in 2009, agreed to be the official administrator for the foundation.

The first students to receive scholarships from the Foundation were David Gadd, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and Bev Gordon, Souris, Manitoba, in 1988.

Now, more than 26 years after it was formed, The Keith Gilmore Foundation accepts applications from throughout Canada on a regular basis and the amount of money available in scholarships is expanded every fall.