Rev. James Dell Keith (Brother Jim and HMP) fulfilled his calling on June 18, 2022. He was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas on November 7, 1935, to Morris and Mildred Braughton Keith.
He graduated from Arkansas State University in 1955 and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. He married the love of his life, Jane Mabry, in 1959 after only nine dates over three years! He began his ministry with the United Methodist Church as an associate minister in both Jonesboro and West Memphis, then served a three-point charge in St Francis County that included the communities of Widener, Round Pond, and Black Fish Lake. While studying in Denver, he served First United Methodist Church in Harrison, Nebraska. He returned to Arkansas and lead multiple United Methodist Churches as senior pastor including Corning, Sylvan Hills, Siloam Springs, Paragould, and Magnolia before transferring to the North Texas Conference. There he served as senior pastor for Grand Prairie and Paris United Methodist Churches before retiring in 1996. Retirement didn’t last long, as he returned to the ministry full-time leading churches in Bowie and Cooper, Texas. In 2000, he and Jane moved to Rogers, Arkansas where he served both Oakley Chapel and Central United Methodist Churches. He retired for good after 58 wonderful years in the ministry.
The number of weddings, baptisms, funerals, and sermons he preached are in the thousands. He had an incredible memory, never forgetting a name or a face. He knew how to connect instantly with people, making them feel at home and welcome, no matter their station in life. He loved a good junkyard almost as much as the pulpit, buying and selling countless numbers of antique automobiles throughout his life. His friends and those whose lives he touched are innumerable.
He is preceded in death by his parents; sister, Ruth Hilton; brother, Bill Keith; and his daughter, Patricia Keith Hedges. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Jane Mabry Keith; son, James D. (Jim) Keith, Jr. (Pam), daughter, Sarah Keith Boyer (Andrew); brother, Robert Keith (Sue), sister-in-law, Glenda Keith; grandchildren, Ashton Necessary (Jason), Keith Hedges (Meagon), Madison Sexton (Andrew), Kate Keith, James D. (Trey) Keith, III, Tommy Boyer, and Sam Boyer. His great-grandchildren brought him great joy with their laughter and antics, telling him, “You can do it, Papa”, when simple things became a struggle. He and Jane had an opportunity to open their home while in Siloam Springs, leading to a life-long bonus daughter, PJ Cooper, and her daughter Rianna. They got another bonus daughter while in Paragould, Wendy Dunn-Gammarano, and her daughters Ashton and Kendal.
The family would like to thank the doctors and nurses at Mercy Wound Care, Circle of Life Hospice, Tiffany Brandenburg, and most importantly, Christel Kurtich, who tirelessly cared for Bro. Jim.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, July 10, at 2 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church in Rogers, Arkansas, with visitation beginning at 1:00 p.m. Reverends Rob Holifield, Brian Youngs and James Kjorlaug will be officiating. Online condolences may be made at www.bentoncountyfuneralhome.com
Memorials may be made to your local United Methodist Church or the Museum of Automobiles, 8 Jones Lane, Morrilton, Arkansas 72110.