Chester Keith

Chester Keith

Friday, October 31st, 1947 - Sunday, February 7th, 2021
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Dr. Chester Keith went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, February 7, 2021. He was born in Burgaw, North Carolina on October 31, 1947. Dr. Keith was preceded in death by his father John C. Wright and mother Eva Mae Keith-Robinson. He was married for fifty-one years to his high school sweetheart, Constance Berlene Keith.

Pastor Keith started driving the school bus for Pender County Elementary, Middle, and High School students at age sixteen in 1963. He would pick up the young people from his community of Canetuck, North Carolina and take them to school. Sometimes, the school bus would conveniently break down at the community gas station. The young people on the bus would buy candy and sodas, have a relaxing day, then go home, not making it to school on those days that the bus “broke down.” On those bus trips, Chester started to notice a red-headed young lady named Constance Bibbs in his rearview mirror. Chester thought she was pretty cute, but he knew that his friend wanted to date her. Chester volunteered to “help” this friend write Constance love notes, but Chester would sign his name to the notes instead of his friend’s name. And Chester and Connie have been together ever since.

After high school graduation, Chester’s school bus driving experience led him to serve in the United States Army driving Tanker Trucks of oil and Agent Orange on the Korean Demilitarized Zone from 1966 until his honorable discharge in 1968. Chester moved to Washington, D.C. and married Connie November 1, 1969. He became a Sous Chef at the Washington International Monetary Fund Cafeteria. But Chester missed his career in driving. In 1970, he became a bus operator for the O. Roy Chalk D.C. Transit, now renamed the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro).

Chester and Connie gave birth to two children and one adopted son, Esi, Keita, and Andrew. When Esi became school-aged, Chester felt that it was important that Esi receive a solid foundation in education because of the lack of educational opportunities that he had received. He enrolled Esi into Clinton Christian School that used the A Beka Curriculum. Esi started attending the church affiliated with the school, and accepted Christ at age 4. She began to tell her father the Bible stories that she was learning and invited her father to accept Christ as his Savior. Two years later, he trusted Christ.

Chester often wondered why he had attended church the majority of his life and never heard the plan of salvation. The Lord began working in his heart with a call to become a pastor. But Chester did not know the process of obtaining the proper training. A young Pensacola Christian College Representative named Jim Schettler came to Dr. Keith’s Church in Maryland and presented the ministry of Pensacola Christian College. Chester knew that Pensacola Christian was where he needed to attend. He sold his house and the majority of his possessions and moved his family to Pensacola in 1982.

After attending Pensacola Christian and working on their A Beka Books Distribution Center Staff, Dr. Keith was called into full-time ministry as a missionary through Fundamental Baptist World-Wide Missions. He started Grace Bible Baptist Church in his home in 1989. The church grew and became a self-supporting indigenous church with Dr. Ruffin as the second pastor, and Mike Kelly, Jr. as the current pastor. Dr. Keith started his second church also named Grace Bible Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. He currently pastored until his last service, the New Year’s Day service, January 3, 2021.

Throughout his ministry, the “Preacher Boys” that worked under Pastor Keith as interns have been highly used by the Lord and made a difference in their ministries of calling. The Lord has used Dr. Keith to lead countless individuals to Christ, making an impact in their families and their communities. Dr. Keith never met a stranger and had a heart’s desire to share how the Lord changed his life with anyone who would listen. He even shared Christ and prayed with his entire medical team during his last stay in the hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. When the doctors would come to speak with him about his condition, he would stop them and pray with them, sharing what Christ had done in his life before allowing the doctors to speak. The doctors would later call Connie to give her an update of his condition, and then would share with her the spiritual lessons that he had taught them.

Dr. Chester Keith was never a man to worry. He was a man of faith. His faith fueled his consistent positive outlook on life. He was always known to say to his family, “We are ‘gonna pray about it and go to bed, ‘cause God is going to be up all night.”

Those left to cherish the memories of the beloved Dr. Chester Keith are his wife, Connie Keith; daughter Esi Shannon (Edward); sons Keita Keith, and Andrew Keith; sister-in law Ernether Stewart (late husband Walter); sister-in-law Margurite Bibbs (late husband Eugene); brother-in-law Carl Bibbs; stepmother Louis Wright (late husband John C. Wright); brother Kenny Wright, sisters Cheryl Costin (Avery), and Renee Wright; brother, William Leath; sisters Deborah Leath Ellington (Johnny), Tommie Alice Robinson, and Gracia Mae Robinson, brothers Michael Robinson (Ingrid), Tony Robinson, and Lieutenant Governor Mark Keith Robinson (Yolanda); grandchildren Jaelen Shannon and Edward Shannon; Collin Keith; Gabriel and Darian Gonzalez; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and church family and friends that Dr. Keith has impacted throughout his many years of serving the Lord.

From the Family: Thank you, Dad, for being a man that walked his talk. You taught us how to live, love, and laugh through your Godly example. Even though you weren’t perfect, as none of us are, we appreciate the leadership and guidance that you provided. Our prayer is to live a life and make an impact for Christ as you did. Although our hearts are saddened by your passing, we can hear you remind us that now you are “More alive than you have ever been,” and your words keep us going. With God’s strength, we will continue in the work that you started. We miss you, and we love you.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, February 12th, 2021 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Friday, February 12th, 2021 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Trahan Family Funeral Home
    60 Industrial Blvd
    PENSACOLA, FL 32503
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Funeral

    Saturday, February 13th, 2021 | 11:00am
    Saturday, February 13th, 2021 11:00am
    St. John Chapel
    St. John Street
    Pensacola, Florida 32503
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Barrancas National Cemetery
    1 Cemetery Road
    PENSACOLA, FL 32508
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Bonita Corbett

Posted at 01:01pm
We are praying for you and the family to get through this time with the peace that comes from the knowledge that God loves you and that He will take care of you. The Corbett Family, Rocky Point, N.C.

Brenda Forney

Posted at 02:57pm
May the Holy Spirit comfort you during this time of sorrow, and His steadfast promises of eternal life give you peace.

Dec. Raymond-Ada Johns

Posted at 12:07am
Wow. Thank God for "Chester Keith".

Posted at 07:50pm
With deepest condolences to the family (my) family


Posted at 07:32pm
To Connie, and The Children, we are praying that God will substain you throughout these trying time, The life that Chester lived is an evidence that Heaven has gained another soldier. Love all of you.

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