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Dr. Reita Stuart Keyes

December 2, 1936 December 16, 2021
Dr. Reita Stuart Keyes
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Obituary for Dr. Reita Stuart Keyes

On the afternoon of December 16, 2021 Reita Jacqueline Stuart Keyes passed away peacefully in the presence of her family at St. Dominic’s Hospital.
Reita Jacqueline Stuart was born on December 2, 1936 in Los Angeles, California to Jasper William “Bill” Stuart and Maxine Hoffmeister Stuart and was their only child. She spent her childhood in Oklahoma until the time that she was first abandoned due to war. In 1942 her father was called to service for WW2 and Reita was sent to live with her grandmother as her mother had to remain in the city for work to the war effort. Reita was an always an excellent student and took great pride in her education throughout her life.
Following high school she attended the University of Kansas City where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1962. She continued her education at Washington University in St. Louis earning her Masters degree in 1965. Her love of learning never waned, and she continued her education into her adulthood receiving her PH.D. from the University of Mississippi in 1984.
In 1965, while teaching nursing at the University of Louisiana Monroe, she met the love of her life and husband of 55 years, Billy Wayne Keyes. From Monroe she had to make the short trip by distance to Laurel, MS to meet the Keyes family. It was an eye opening experience for an only child from the Midwest to meet such a large family from Mississippi. She was hugged more that day than any other day of her life. From Monroe they moved to New Iberia where they had their first child, Deborah Diane Keyes.
It was in 1968 that Reita was once again abandoned by war when Bill was called to service for Vietnam. Reita was pregnant with their second child, Stuart Wayne Keyes, when Bill was deployed and his only request was to please have a boy and have him by December 31st. She delivered, literally, as Stuart was born on December 31, 1968.
As a very strong independent woman she loaded those two babies on a plane to Hawaii in 1969 so that Bill who was on R and R could see his precious daughter and meet his son for the first time. That independence served her well during him time serving on the State Board of Health from 1983-1986. She was appointed to this position by Governor William Winter and she traveled the state in her baby blue Monte Carlo with her CB call sign Nightingale.
Following Vietnam Bill and Reita settled in Jackson, MS where Reita was an instructor at Hinds Junior College, Doctor’s Hospital, and St. Dominic’s School of Nursing and later retired from Mississippi College School of Nursing in 1997. If ever there was person whose career perfectly matched their calling, it was Reita. Teaching nursing was her love and being able to do it at institutions that allowed her to share her faith with her students and patients was the perfect match.
Reita was patient, truthful, caring, trustworthy, and loving. Practicing these traits daily made her the exceptional wife, mother, grandmother, and nurse that she was.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Bill (1985) and Maxine (2016). Reita is survived by her husband of 55 years, Bill Keyes, her daughter Debbie Keyes Butler (Kevin) and their two boys, Daniel and David and step-granddaughter Brittanie Estes (Josh) and their three children. She is also survived by her son Stuart Keyes (Lisa) and their four children Hunter (Katie), Kayleigh, Carter and Sadie.
Visitation will be Monday 12/20/21 at Franklin Baptist Church on Cox Ferry Road in Flora, MS at 10:00 am with the funeral immediately following at 11 am. All are invited to the graveside service immediately thereafter at Bethel Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Franklin Baptist Church, 2222 Cox Ferry Road, Flora, MS.

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Previous Events

Visitation

Monday

20

Dec

10:00 AM 12/20/2021 10:00:00 AM - 11:00 AM 12/20/2021 11:00:00 AM
Franklin Baptist Church

2222 Cox Ferry Road
Flora, MS 39071

Franklin Baptist Church
2222 Cox Ferry Road Flora 39071 MS
United States

Service

Monday

20

Dec

11:00 AM 12/20/2021 11:00:00 AM
Franklin Baptist Church

2222 Cox Ferry Road
Flora, MS 39071

Franklin Baptist Church
2222 Cox Ferry Road Flora 39071 MS
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Bethel Cemetery Final Resting Place

2222 Cox Ferry Road
Flora, MS 39071

2222 Cox Ferry Road Flora 39071 MS
United States

Memorial Contribution

Franklin Baptist Church

2222 Cox Ferry Road
Flora, MS 39071
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