GASTONIA - William Harvey "Bill" Keith died suddenly at his home on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012.
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He was born in Greenwood, South Carolina on June 6, 1928, son of William Calhoun and Lucille Harvey Keith.
He grew up in Greenwood, achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, graduated Greenwood High School in 1945 and maintained friendships and ties to the community for the rest of his life. Mr. Keith graduated from Davidson College in 1949 and was an avid, lifelong "Wildcat" fan and supporter. He was Chairman of the Davidson College Annual Fund and served as class secretary and in many other capacities. In 1994, he was awarded the Davidson Alumni Service Award. He attended the School of Banking of the South at LSU in 1958, and completed the Executive Program at Chapel Hill in 1974.
Mr. Keith worked for banks in Greenwood and Barnwell, S.C., Wilson and Brevard, N.C. before moving to Gastonia with First Union National Bank in 1966. He was employed by First Union for 30 years, the last 22 as Area Vice President. He joined the board of Gaston Federal in 1991, now Citizens South Bank where he became a Director Emeritus in 2000.
Mr. Keith was married for over 59 years to his beloved Mary Katherine Nye Keith. They have been active members of First Presbyterian Church since 1966, where Mr. Keith served as Sunday School Teacher, Elder, Chairman of the Pastor Nominating , Finance and Stewardship Committees. He was an active volunteer and community leader; a former President of the following organizations: Gaston County YMCA, Gaston Chamber of Commerce, Gas-tonia Kiwanis Club, United Way, Gaston County Education Foundation, the Heart Society, and Chairman of both the Gaston Housing Authority and the Board of Gaston Memorial Hospital. He co-chaired the Ashbrook Stadium fundraising effort . He was an accomplished schoolyard athlete and par-ticipated in sports throughout his life. He loved tennis and golf, making holes in one in 1992 and 1999; was a founding member of Glen Cannon Country Club in Brevard, NC and a longtime member of Gaston Country Club.
In addition to his wife Mary Katherine, Mr. Keith is survived by his daughter, Katherine Keith Thomas (Ken) Raleigh; his son, William Harvey "Bill" Keith Jr. (Marie) of Atlanta, Ga.; and his daughter Anne Keith Lupo (Dickson) of Charlotte. The Keiths loved and shared six grandchildren: Cooper and Will Thomas, Caroline and Madison Keith, and Mary Katherine and McCarthy Lupo. Their family also includes Paige, Maddison and Jackson Thomas.
Mr. Keith was devoted to the many members of his extended family. They include his brother Graeme McGregor Keith (Gloria), nephews Greg and Russ and niece Cary Ellen Heberton; cousins Anita Harvey Watson King (Jack), Jane McGowan Howle (Emmett) Marian McGowan Nisbet and Mrs. J. Erskine Love and her family; Keith, John and Peter Seago, and Jane Harvey Frey (John). He is predeceased by cousins J. Erskine Love and Hazel Harvey Nichols.
Bill Keith truly relished life and all the good things God brought into this world. He enjoyed the loving company of his wife, rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Davidson Wildcats and the Ashbrook Greenwave; reading a book a week, green shrimp, sharing his homemade oatmeal cookies, breakfast with his Gastonia pals, walking along the shores of Wrightsville Beach, the accomplishments of his grandkids, visiting friends from childhood and college, good North Carolina barbecue, church services that began and ended promptly, the "Halleluah" chorus and the people and community of Gastonia, his beloved home for over 47 years.
A memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church of Gastonia, 1621 E. Garrison Boulevard.
Family will receive friends at the church following the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to First Presbyterian Church Gastonia or Davidson College: The William H. Keith Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 7174 Davidson, NC 28035-7174.
Condolence messages may be sent and viewed online by visiting www.mcleanfuneral.com.
McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia is serving the family of Mr. Keith.
McLean Funeral Directors
700 South New Hope Road Gastonia, NC 28054
Published in Gaston Gazette on Jan. 31, 2012