John E. Keith, age 75, peacefully went to be with his Heavenly Father on Saturday, June 27, 2020.
He was born on May 7, 1945, in Effingham, Illinois to Leland “Six” and Pauline Williams Keith. John received his business degree from Millikin University and owned and operated ACE Hardware stores for over 30 years in Raleigh, NC. On June 11, 1947 he married the love of his life, Nancy Freischlag Keith. They raised two daughters, Kelly and Michelle; and son Michael and he could often be found coaching his kids on the soccer fields.
John was a devoted father and a wonderful grandfather. He enjoyed taking pictures of his family and sunsets. His hobbies included tennis and pickleball. He also loved playing cards, mahjong, and poker. He was known by all for his big heart, willingness to help anybody, great sense of humor, and memorable practical jokes. Many people considered John a father figure or a wise mentor.
John had a passion for Jesus and for serving others. He earnestly volunteered at Pine Valley United Methodist Church as a greeter, usher, communion server, and was active in the Celebrate Recovery Program. He recently went on a trip to Israel and referred to it as “a trip of a lifetime.” He was also a passionate volunteer with One Love Tennis and tutored children in their Academic Enrichment Program. His impact was big everywhere he served.
He was preceded in death by his father; Leland Lavern Keith, mother; Pauline Williams Keith, and his wife of 44 years, Nancy Freischlag Keith. He is survived by his daughter Kelly Keith Merrill and husband Greg Merrill of Brentwood, TN; his daughter Michelle Keith Fay and husband Richard Fay of Wilmington, NC; his son Michael Christopher Keith of Woodland Park, CO. Grandchildren: Connor Jacob Merrill, Byron Keith Merrill, Austin Cooper Merrill, Makenna Riggs Fay, and Ethan Michael Fay.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Pine Valley United Methodist Church or One Love Tennis. A funeral service is scheduled for 11:00 am at Pine Valley United Methodist Church on Thursday, July 2 to honor John and tell stories of a life well lived and well laughed. Read More