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Edith Keys, Johnson City

Published March 28th, 2012 9:39 pm

Ms. Edith Elizabeth Keys, age 92, Johnson City, passed away Monday, March 26, 2012, at Johnson City Medical Center.
 Born July 17, 1919, Ms. Keys was a native of Washington County and a daughter of the late Orgel Ralph and Addie Shanks Keys. In addition to her parents, Ms. Keys was preceded in death by one brother, Ivan R. Keys (Oria Smith); two sisters, Nina Mae Hale (Cargille) and Mary Frances Shipley (C.T.); and a nephew, Gerald S. Keys.
She was a longtime, devoted member of First United Methodist Church of Johnson City. She served the church in numerous capacities and was very active at the local, district and conference levels, including serving as a past president of the United Methodist Women. In recent years, she was honored for her more than 90 years of consecutive attendance at the Sulphur Springs Camp Meeting.
In addition to her church and mission work, Ms. Keys was very involved in the community, and volunteering was very important to her. She was a member of — among other organizations — the GFWC Monday Club of Johnson City, Washington County Retirees Association, East Tennessee State University Retired Teachers’ Association, Delta Kappa Gamma, 4-H, and was one of the founding members of the First Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability Advisory Board. In 2002, she was honored for more than 6,000 hours of volunteer service at the Johnson City Seniors’ Center.
Ms. Keys was a beloved member of her family and will be greatly missed. She had an infectious zest for life; her vast array of interests and hobbies included world travel, missions, ceramics, local theatre, history and research.
Ms. Keys graduated from East Tennessee State College (1940), earning a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on home economics and English, and from George Peabody College (1957), where she received a master’s degree in library science.
Her early teaching career included positions at Lamar, South Side and Keystone Elementary schools. Ms. Keys joined ETSC’s library staff in 1958. As a reference librarian, she was responsible for the library education program and the training of the library’s student workers and staff employees. Ms. Keys was promoted to associate professor in 1967. After nearly two more decades of continuous service, she retired from the university in 1984.
Survivors include brother-in-law, C.T. Shipley; nieces, Carolyn Keys Spitler, Clara Mae Hale Pierce (Bob), Vivian Shipley Eckerson (Art), Catherine Cartus, Jane Shipley Cox (Bill); great nieces and nephew, Kim Wright, Cindy Platillero, Jennifer Skaggs, Karen Lim, Johnny Pierce, Kelly Hughes, Kristen Christensen, Kimberly Cartus; and many great-great nieces and nephews.
Celebration of Life services will be conducted at First United Methodist Church of Johnson City at noon on Saturday, March 31, 2012, with the Reverends Betty Furches and Dr. Garland Thayer officiating.
The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. until the service.
Interment will follow at Sulphur Springs Cemetery. Pallbearers will be selected from family and friends. Honorary pallbearers will be the members of the Asbury Fellowship Sunday School Class and the United Methodist Women of First United Methodist Church, Johnson City.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Capital Fund of First United Methodist Church, 900 Spring Street, Johnson City, TN 37604.
Condolences may be sent to the Keys family online at
Dillow-Taylor Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Jonesborough, TN, 753-3821