Memorial Service for Ernest Willis Keith, 94, of Nacogdoches will be held at 11:00am on Saturday, August 26, 2023 at North Street Church of Christ with Curtis Barbarick officiating. The family will receive friends beginning at 10:00am, prior to the service at North Street Church of Christ. Mr. Keith will be laid to rest in Sharman Cemetery in Taylor, Arkansas.
Mr. Keith passed away on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 in Nacogdoches. He was born on January 31, 1929 in Arkansas.
Ernest was raised in the Sharman/Bussey Community of southwest Arkansas by his parents, Herbert and Katie Walker Keith. His childhood was spent fishing and hunting alongside his father, grandfather and other family members. These times instilled a fondness for being outdoors. In 1948, he married Betty Lou Franks. Together, they raised their children, instilled great values and shared the love of hunting and fishing. Many days were spent with them either on the lake or in the woods. In 1968, Ernest and Betty moved their family to East Texas and opened K&K Asphalt Paving which he ran for almost 30 years.
Although they moved from Arkansas, Ernest and his family continued with their trips to their favorite place, Baker Springs Hunting Club. A total of 5 generations enjoyed being a part of the club and Ernest went until he was 91 years old. He also made a trip to Colorado for 27 years to hunt but made sure he was back before October 1 when squirrel season began. Each spring brought the task of gardening. He had a bountiful harvest every year, including strawberries, peas and many other vegetables. He even grew sugar cane and made syrup at one time. In 2011, Ernest lost his wife Betty, after 62 years of marriage. They made many trips and had lots of adventures. They raised their children and were very proud of each of them. Ernest was a man of his word and loved his family, including his extended family. He was witty and funny and loved to tell stories of times spent with everyone as they made memories that would last a lifetime.
He was a dedicated member of North Street Church of Christ and served as a deacon. It was there that he was afforded the opportunity to love again. He and Joyce Barton were joined in marriage by Bill Sherrill in 2014. Ernest found joy in taking Joyce places she had never been. They were able to experience travel and see beautiful parts of the country together over the past 10 years.
Ernest is survived by his loving wife, Joyce Barton Keith of Nacogdoches; daughter, Cynthia Keith of Taylor, Arkansas; sons, Ron Keith & wife, Elaine of Shreveport, Louisiana, Allen Keith & wife, Kathy of Chandler, Texas and Andy Keith of Taylor, Arkansas; grandchildren, Jennifer Ceccacci & husband, Tony of Houston, Chris Keith of Nacogdoches, Tyler Keith & wife, Mary of Houston, Kelly Keith & wife, Sabrina of Shreveport, Louisiana, Korey Keith & wife, Angie of Celina, Texas and Kasey Keith of Shreveport, Louisiana; sister, Betty Russell of Magnolia, Arkansas; and sister-in-law, Sandy Keith of Paris, Texas; 13 great grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews; step-children, Kerry Barton of Houston and Cindy Hargraves & husband, Larry of Houston; step-grandchildren, Ryan Barton, Kalie Barton, Kendall Usher & husband, Kirkland and Hannah Bermudes & husband, Axel; and 1 step great-grandson.
He is preceded in death by his wife and mother of his children, Betty Lou Keith; parents, Herbert Victor & Katie Elizabeth Walker Keith; sisters, Francille Waters & husband, Leland and Mary Jarnagin & husband, Jimmy; brother, Roy Keith and brother-in-law, Arthur Russell.
Memorials may be made in Mr. Keith’s honor to Sharman Cemetery Association, 5270 Columbia Road 1, Taylor, Arkansas 71861