Richard Eugene Keyes, 82, of Jefferson, Georgia, passed away on December 25, 2008, at Northeast Georgia Medical Center from complications following surgery.
Mr. Keyes, or "Papa" as his family affectionately knew him, was born on March 19, 1926, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Upon his high school graduation in 1943 he proudly joined the United States Navy. As a brave member of the crew of the USS LSM-381, Mr. Keyes served in the Asiatic-Pacific campaign during World War II in the Philippines and Okinawa. As a civilian, he attended the Arlington Academy of Music and graduated in 1951. Mr. Keyes shared his love of music in all aspects of his life: by day, he worked for Decca Records and MCA Records over a 25 year span, and by night he delighted in playing the drums in Boston area nightclubs. This love of music lead him to meet his soul mate, Elizabeth Jones, who caught his eye with her innate rhythm and grace during one of his performances. Together, they raised nine children over the span of their marriage. His wife preceded him in death in 1975 following a courageous battle with cancer. He loved her for the rest of his life, never remarrying.
Upon retirement from the music business, Mr. Keyes worked for 7 years with Kmart Corporation until moving to Stone Mountain, Georgia to live with his daughter, Michelle, son-in-law William, and granddaughters Jessica and Jennifer. Richard kept active working as a fireman for the Stone Mountain Park Railroad. After another 7 years of employment, he decided to officially retire and focus on the hobbies he loved: camping at the beautiful state parks of Georgia, attending NASCAR races with his children, and spending time with his grandchildren and grand pets. He lived out his final years with his loving daughter Michelle Keyes Elam and beloved son-in-law William Elam after moving with them to Jefferson, Georgia. Mr. Keyes is survived by his children and their spouses: David Keyes, Donna Keyes Desrosiers and Wayne Desrosiers, Roderick Keyes, Michelle Keyes Elam and William Elam, Richard Keyes, Robert Keyes and Terri Knight, Daniel Keyes, James Keyes and April Meadows Keyes, and Michael Keyes; his grandchildren and their spouses Jessica Elam Moffett and Gregory Moffett, Jennifer Elam and Frank Hantke, Matthew Keyes, Ryan Keyes, Justin Keyes, Jaime Lynn Keyes, and Joseph Keyes; and his first great-grandchild, Hailey Elizabeth Moffett. Evans Funeral Home in Jefferson, Georgia provided cremation services. Per his wishes, his ashes will be returned to Boston, MA to be buried next to his beloved wife.
Evans Funeral Home, Jefferson, was in charge of arrangements.