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William Franklin ‘Bill’ Keith, 92, rancher who raised cattle

William Franklin ‘Bill’ Keith

William Franklin “Bill” Keith, 92, passed away Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, at Lower Cape Fear Life Care. He was born June 24, 1927, in Pender County to Charles Powell Keith Sr. and Katie Floyd Clark. He grew up on the family farm in Pender County.

Bill served in the U. S. Navy at the end of World War II. He married Juanita “Pete” Todd Jan. 6, 1952. Returning to Wilmington, he entered the trucking business. He worked for himself awhile and then Cromartie Trucking. He went on to work for Babcock and Wilcox, where he retired in 1983. In May 1984, he had a collision with a freight train at an unmarked crossing during a total solar eclipse and thunder storm. After his recovery, he went to work for the Hess Corporation before retiring in 1995.

In his free time, he enjoyed “working out in the country,” raising cattle and mowing the local cemeteries. One year, he even won a ribbon at the North Carolina State Fair with his prize Brahma bull. Bill had been a member of the Pender County Fellowship club for over 40 years. He and Juanita attend Winter Park Baptist Church, where they served for over 50 years. On Jan. 6 of this year, they celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary.

He is survived by his wife, Juanita “Pete” Todd Keith; three children Gwen K. Brown (Ken), Lynn K. Creech (Tony) and Ronald Keith; five grandchildren, Ashley Creech, Jennifer Brown, Matthew Brown, Brandon Keith and Carly Keith; great-grandchild, Bentley Rivenbark; sister, Laura K Spivey; and sister and brother-in-law, Martha and Benny Herring.

A visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 17, at Coble Ward-Smith Funeral & Cremation Service. A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 18, at Winter Park Baptist Church with the Rev. Mark Teachy officiating.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Bill’s name to Winter Park Baptist Church.

Share online condolences with the family at Coble Ward-Smith Funeral & Cremation Service.

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