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Deacon Lawrence Russell McKeever Sr., 75, of 885 Nance Drive, Petersburg, departed this life on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, at his residence.

He was born to the late George W. McKeever Sr. and Lucille Oliver on Jan. 25, 1938. He was the sixth child of 14 and helped to raise his siblings alongside his mother.

Deacon McKeever was a retired contractor and worked at Brown and Williamson for 31 years. He was also an avid fisherman and an accomplished contractor.

Deacon Lawrence R. McKeever, a member of Bethany Missionary Baptist Church, was ordained on Sept. 16, 1963, by the late William Lloyd Garrison James at the Bethany Baptist Church in Petersburg, Va. Deacon McKeever has served as a past member of the Butler-Gill Memorial Ministry, former assistant treasurer of the Fellowship of Churches, superintendent of Sunday school, president of the Youth Usher Board, vice president of the "Just Us" Ministry, member of The Brotherhood Ministry, Male Chorus, Mass Choir, Nurse's Guild and currently served as deacon emeritus. Deacon McKeever chaired the Pastoral Search Committee and served as chairman of the Deaconate on both occasions when the church was without a pastor during his membership at Bethany. Deacon McKeever actively taught Sunday school until his death and was thought of as an extraordinary teacher of the word of God. He also taught Vacation Bible School annually.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by sisters, Lucille McKeever and Lavern Smith, and daughter, Tyris Collins.

Left to cherish his precious memory are: his wife, Mary R. Collins-McKeever; son, Lawrence R. McKeever Jr. of Petersburg; daughters, Yvonne McDowell-Williams (David) of Bronx, N.Y., and Michaelé McKeever-Davis (Calvin) of North Chesterfield; brothers, George W. McKeever Jr., James McKeever (Marilyn), Alvin McKeever (Augusta), William McKeever (Deloise) and Robert McKeever (Dulceana); sisters, Helen Bennett, the Rev. Merle Keane (Robert), Betty Nunally (Albert), Gloria Rose and Frances Macklin; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

A funeral service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, at the Bethany Missionary Baptist Church, 613 E. Wythe St., Petersburg. The pastor, the Rev. Eli Melvin, will eulogize. Interment will follow in the Wilkerson Memorial Cemetery, Petersburg. There will be a wake from 6 to 8 Friday evening at Bethany Missionary Baptist Church. The immediate family only is to assemble at the residence at noon on the day of the service. Extended family members, pallbearers and floral bearers are asked to assemble at the church at 1 p.m. on the day of the service.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the staff of William N. Bland & Son Funeral Home, Petersburg; the Rev. William N. Bland Jr. and Mr. James I. Gay, funeral directors. For more information or to leave an online condolence, visit us at
Published in The Progress-Index from Feb. 5 to Feb. 8, 2013