Joseph Leroy Keith, 69, passed away Sunday morning, Jan. 29, 2012 in Rushville, Ind. He was born in Rushville on Nov. 24, 1942, to Chester and Lois (Sipes) Keith.
He graduated from Rushville High School in 1961. During his four years of high school, Joe excelled in football, baseball, basketball, tennis, and track earning countless letters and setting multiple school records (some of which still stand). He attended High Point College in North Carolina on a basketball scholarship. However, a scout discovered him and took him to Minor League Baseball. Joe toured much of the U.S. while playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates farm league. He signed a major league contract with the NY Mets as a pitcher. Before that dream came to fruition, he broke his arm.
Joe was a valuable employee for many years at Perfect Circle, Wickes Buildings, and Truster Buildings before he joined Farm Bureau Insurance, where he retired from after 20 years in Dec. 2009.
Joe was actively involved in Council of clubs baseball, Rush County Men’s Softball, Rushville Bowl, Mays basketball, and several traveling baseball teams. He was elected to the County Council, served on the Drainage Board, and recently resigned after 20 years on the Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Joe was a lover of fishing and later in life became an avid golfer. He was a proud member of Antler Point Golf Course. Additionally, he was a member of Main St. Christian Church where he had served as Elder and Deacon. He was also a social member of the Knights of Columbus.
In March, 1987, Joe married the love of his life, the woman who adored him. Mary Jo (Gridley) Keith loved him beyond comprehension. Together, they created an amazing life and family.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by five daughters and one son: Michele Houston of Rushville, Melinda (Doug) Miller of Noblesville, Julie (Charlie) Miramonti of McCordsville, Melissa (Dan) Miller of Berea, Ohio, Mary (Adam) Dollarhide of Franklin, and Jeff (Nichole) Stagg of Va. He cherished his 13 grandchildren and 2 great-granddaughters: Brandon Crain; Grant Houston; Meredith, Mallory, and Max Miller; Kanyon Keith and Maleah Ging; Gabe, Mya, Nate, and Lyla Miller; Isabella and Cash Miramonti; Brynnlee Crain and Stella Barnes. Joe is also survived by two sisters, Karolyn Emery of Penn., and Iva (Terry) Hartwell of Waldron; one brother, Tom (Deb) Keith of Southport; and former spouse, Carolyn (Gordon) Keith. Many nieces and nephews will also miss “Uncle McJoe”.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Michael Joseph in 2001; and a sister, Barbara Whitman in 2001.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 at Moster Mortuary, Rushville, with Dr. Dennis Bowman presiding. Friends are welcome to visit at the mortuary from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012. Burial will be in Rushville's East Hill Cemetery. The Rushville Elks Lodge #1307 will provide services Wednesday evening.
The family has requested that memorial contributions be made to the Michael J. Keith Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Rush County Community Foundation, Benesse Oncology Center in Shelby County, or Grundy Mountain Mission School in Virginia.