Joe Cooper Keith, 94, of Malvern died Wednesday, June 20. Born June 11, 1924, in Malvern, he was a retired cattleman and was actively involved in the local community.
A son of Marvin N. and Clara Cooper Keith, he was a World War II Navy veteran and graduated from the University of Missouri in 1948 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Keith married Dorothy Lee Moss on Oct. 17, 1948, and they were married for 58 years when she died Dec. 25, 2006.
He owned Keith Chevrolet in Sheridan and worked at Malvern National Bank before becoming a full-time cattleman in 1959 after his father’s death. Keith raised award-winning polled Hereford cattle, served as president of the Hot Spring County Cattlemen’s Association and the Arkansas Polled Hereford Association. A member of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association and the American Polled Hereford Association, he served as president of the Hot Spring County Farm Bureau and the Hot Spring County Fair Board, and was a member of the Arkansas State Fair Board. The Joe Keith Family was named Hot Spring County Farm Family of the Year in 1972.
Keith was an active member of the First United Methodist Church in Malvern, where he was a long-time member of the choir and the Friendship Sunday School Class. A board member emeritus of the College of the Ouachitas, he had served on the boards of the Bank of Malvern, Horizon Bank and Summit Bank, and had served as board president of Holly Springs Brick and Tile Co. He was an organizer and board president of Malvern Little League and had been a member of the Malvern Lions Club for 65 years. Keith received a lifetime achievement award this year from the Malvern-Hot Spring County Chamber of Commerce.
An avid bridge player and golfer, he was a member of the Malvern Country Club, where the club’s annual four-ball tournament is named in his honor.
In addition to his parents and wife, he was preceded in death by a brother, Marvin, who was killed in World War II.
Survivors include four children, Catherine (J.C.) Bryant of Poplar Bluff, Mo., Jane (Jim) Rice of Malvern, and Tom (Sonja) Keith and David (Tammy) Keith, all of Conway; 11 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Saturday at the First United Methodist Church in Malvern. Family visitation will begin at 12:45 p.m. at the church. Burial will be in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Malvern, under the direction of JA Funk Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the Malvern First United Methodist Church.
Online condolences may be sent via jafunkfuneralhome.com.