Masters Mourns Keaton Guthrie-Goss


Dana Goin

Keaton Guthrie-Goss passed away in a surfing accident in California at the age of 25.

Beloit College

Gabriel Keller and Alexandra Bentzien

On Nov. 29, 2018, former Masters student William Keaton Guthrie-Goss, an alumnus of the Class of 2011, tragically passed away at the age of 25 due to a surfing accident in Fort Bragg, Calif. BEtter known as Keaton, Guthrie-Goss was originally from Garrison, NY, and was voted “Most Loved By All” for his senior superlative at Masters.

The loss of Guthrie-Goss has been strongly felt by everyone that knew him. Keira Goin is a former classmate and friend to Guthrie-Goss who fondly remembers his presence. “In his time at Masters, Keaton was someone who could put a smile on anyone’s face. He was a radiant light on campus who was close with everyone. In speaking with classmates since his passing, everyone talks about moments spent with Keaton, and we all feel lucky to have shared so many important years with such a beautiful soul,” Goin said.

Guthrie-Goss particularly enjoyed Masters’ welcoming environment.  His mother, Cat Guthrie, remembered how happy Keaton was with the Harkness method and the personal, face-to-face interaction it offered. “It was always about connections with teachers and fellow students,” Guthrie said.   

His father, Joel Goss, remembers his son was “vividly social,” especially at Masters.  “He loved Harkness because he got to engage with every person in the room,” Goss said.   

English teacher Darren Wood taught Keaton during 10th and 11th grade and was also his lacrosse coach during his time at Masters.  “He was an incredibly kind person and everyone wanted to be his friend,”Wood said. “My most distinct memory of Keaton is him running up the lacrosse field after just having bruised his ribs, despite my warnings. Keaton had an incredible drive for someone so easygoing.”

Guthrie-Goss attended Beloit College in Wisconsin and graduated in 2015 with degrees in creative writing and classics.  He also participated on the lacrosse team and co-founded Masters’ Social Justice Club.

Outside of his academics, Guthrie-Goss loved to travel and surf, a sport his entire family was passionate about.  He also enjoyed skateboarding and snowboarding, and though he wasn’t necessarily a “sports guy,” he liked playing sports with his friends.  Guthrie-Goss was also a writer who wrote poetry and songs, and played keyboard, trumpet and drums.

After finishing receiving his degrees from Beloit College, Guthrie-Goss worked in retail, was involved in farming and recently began working in the film industry as a production assistant in Los Angeles.  He kept in touch with his family and friends by writing letters.

The memorial for Keaton Guthrie-Goss was held on Saturday, Dec. 15.  Wood noted that 35 former Masters students attended the service, including all of his old girlfriends.  

“He had so many friends from every walk of life,” Guthrie said.  

“Everything and everyone didn’t just have the potential to be important and interesting.  It was always interesting to him because he just stopped and noticed,” Goss said.

 It was Guthrie-Goss’ request that he have a “viking funeral,” as he was opposed to the idea of a traditional service and preferred to have a celebration of life.  His ashes were placed into paper boats and sent off to sail in the pond where he liked to swim, fish and boat. At the service on Sunday, Dec. 16, Guthrie-Goss chose to play two songs about the ocean and “All You Need is Love” and “She Loves You” by The Beatles.   

“We were all sad in hearing the stories about Keaton, but they were wonderful and life-affirming.  If I can’t have him, than having him like this is second best,” Goss said.

On Wednesday, Dec. 19, the Spanish Seminars class held a holiday benefit concert and bake sale to commemorate the loss of Guthrie-Goss.  All of the proceeds were donated to Greenpeace and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

“My main reason to propose to the Spanish Seminars class to support the idea of dedicating the benefit concert to Keaton is clear: Keaton was a social justice activist and he was in the side of best causes. Even Beyond Masters, Keaton continues living, defending and supporting good causes,” Spanish teacher Roberto Mercedes said.

Mercedes, who taught Spanish Seminars to Guthrie-Goss and advised the Social Justice Club, vividly remembered his enthusiasm for Spanish language and culture, and his positive and progressive attitude.  

“ I remember his beautiful smile, and I still can see him in my memory walking around Masters Hall,” Mercedes said.