GASTONIA - Mary Katherine Nye Keith passed away peacefully at Covenant Village on July 16, 2014.
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The beloved only child of Bruce and Annie Mae Sykes Nye, she was born on Aug. 20, 1927, in Mullins and raised in Conway, South Carolina.
A summa cum laude graduate of Queen's University in Charlotte who remained an active alumnus, Mary Katherine shared her quiet faith and passion for service as the Director of Christian Education for Presbyterian churches in Macon, Ga; Lumberton, N.C., and Greenwood, SC. as well as serving on the Board of Christian Education at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va. Later, she taught high school English before becoming a full time mom and community volunteer.
It was in Greenwood that she met William Harvey Keith, to whom she was happily married for almost 60 years until his death in January 2012. Mary Katherine and Bill enjoyed a large circle of friends in Gas-tonia and throughout the Carolinas. She was an active tennis player, a devoted and engaged parent, and a stellar cook who spoiled her family always with the loving goodness of her home cooked meals and treats. She was a member of the Gastonia Debutante Club, the Friday Morning Book Club and The Sup-per Club.
In addition to her husband Bill, she was preceded in death by her parents and her loving cousin, Da-vid Sherwood "Jimmy" Nye,. She is survived by her children Katherine Keith Thomas (Ken) of Raleigh; William Harvey "Bill" Keith, Jr. of Atlanta, and Anne Keith Lupo (Dickson) of Charlotte.
"Nana" was loved and revered by her six grandchildren, Will and Cooper (Paige) Thomas, Caroline and Madison Keith, and Mary Katherine and McCarthy Lupo. They shared her love for Carolina beaches and have declared her homemade chicken salad, brown rice and tea cake cookies "the best in the world."
Her extended family also includes her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Graeme and Gloria Keith, and their children, Greg, Russ and Carey Ellen Keith Heberton; her cousins Mary Louise Nye Holly, Frank Nye, Cecil McIntyre, Don and Lynn MacQueen, Ruth Anne Nye Sanford, David Nye and Beth Nye Zirkle.
An active member of First Presbyterian Church, Mary Katherine served as Circle Moderator and Presi-dent of The Women of the Church, Sunday school teacher, co-chair of the visitor contact committee and chair of the Christian Education committee. She was an Ordained Elder, and recipient of an Honorary Life Membership in the Women of the Church (1993). She faithfully attended Sunday school classes and church services until the last few months of her life.
Mary Katherine's passion for service and her genuine, nurturing spirit led her to help establish Gas-tonia's Crisis Assistance Ministry, where she was the volunteer Chair and worked tirelessly to help the homeless and hungry of Gaston County for well over two decades.
The family would like to thank the wonderful nursing staff at Covenant Village, the ministerial staff at First Presbyterian Church and
Brenda Johnson for their kindness and loving care.
A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church of Gastonia, 1621 East Garrison Boulevard.
Family will receive friends at the church following the service.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to First Presbyterian Church, Crisis Assistance Ministry (805 W. Airline Ave., Gastonia, NC 28052) or to the Covenant Village Benevolent Fund (1351 Robinwood Road, Gastonia, NC 28054).
Published in Gaston Gazette on July 17, 2014