FUQUAY-VARINA - Clifton David Keith, 93, died on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, at WakeMed in Raleigh.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m. in the chapel of Thomas Funeral Home in Fuquay-Varina. Burial will follow at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.
The family will receive friends on Friday, Nov. 15, from 7 until 9 p.m. at Thomas Funeral Home.
Clifton was born in Franklin County to Walter Edgar Keith and Myrtle Cash Keith, the fourth of eight children. He graduated from Rolesville High School. During World War II, Clifton joined the U.S. Merchant Marines and served on various liberty ships.
After the war he went to work at North Carolina Shipbuilding in Wilmington. It was from there that he first visited White Lake in 1947, beginning a lifelong passion for the lake. Clifton purchased a Gar Wood speedboat in which he gave boat rides for hire at the lake. In 1948, he purchased a second boat, a Century Sea Maid. That year he met Willie Grace Dones, who was a passenger on his boat. They were married in 1952 and remained together until her death in 1999. In 1952, Clifton was one of the builders and original owners of Lilly III, a 55-foot sightseeing boat, on the shore of Melvin's Beach, now known as Camp Clearwater. He owned and operated Lilly III until the late 1960's. He maintained his cottage at White Lake and spent many enjoyable summers there.
In 1959, Clifton went to work for the town of Fuquay Springs, where his duties were Street Superintendent, Water and Sewer Superintendent, Fire Chief, Building Inspector, and Director of Public Works until his retirement in 1982. He was also a member of the Fuquay-Varina Lions Club for over 50 years.
Clifton was preceded in death by his wife, Willie Grace Dones Keith; son, David Earl Keith; sisters, Goldie Cooke and Janie Pearl Mangum; brothers, Lenwood, Wesley, Carlton, and Rufus Keith.
He is survived by his son, Dennis Keith of Raleigh; grandson, Jonathan Keith of Angier, and brother, Willard Keith of Rolesville. Numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins also survive.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of Wake County, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607, for the care they provided for Clifton's wife and son. Also, the family wishes to express their appreciation to the doctors, nurses, and staff of WakeMed Raleigh for their care during his illness.