"…Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing…and when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb….and when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance." - "The Prophet," Kahil Gibran
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As death is the gateway into our Creator's presence, Estelle Jones Keeling was embraced by the arms of her Savior and reunited with her eternal family and beloved friends on Friday, May 23, 2014.
Funeral services celebrating the life of Mrs. Keeling, 99, are scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday, May 29, at Stewart Family Funeral Home, Tyler, with Dr. John H. Beard and the Rev. Ron Moore officiating. Interment will follow in Edom, her birthplace.
Our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and dear friend to many met her Lord, as she lived, with dignity, courage and peace within her heart. The abundant depth of her Christian principles were readily seen in her love of family and her bountiful gift of friendship for all within her grasp. Her astute wisdom, gentle grace, unselfish loyalty and patient sense of humor were constant sources of encouragement and inspiration.
It was her kindness, generosity and sheer love of life that served as her guiding beacon. Conversely, it was her stamina in the throes and shadows of her sorrows that anchored her sensitivity and empathy in helping those in need. Moreover, she touched the lives of so many with her radiant spirit and compassionate words of understanding and encouragement. Always available for her friends, dedicated to her children, adored her grandchildren and beloved extended family, she leaves a legacy of fond and eternal memories with all she embraced.
Mrs. Keeling was the fifth of seven children born Sept. 29, 1914, to Martin and Lockey Boyd Jones, of Edom. She lived throughout her lifetime in loving devotion among her three brothers and three sisters. She was preceded in death by her parents; infant daughter, Hazel Dell Gandy; husband of five years, Wayne Gandy; husband of 50 years, Horace Keeling; grandson, Keith Keeling; granddaughter, Teresa Gandy Leandro; son, Billy James Gandy; stepson, Bill Keeling; and her six cherished siblings, Ava Nell Linthicum, Valley Lee Moore, Inez Robinson, Kernon "KG" Jones, Nolen "Buddy" Jones and the Rev. Bill "WF" Jones.
Her zest for life and passionate inspiration will remain in the hearts of her surviving family and multitude of friends. She is survived by her son, Robert Keeling, Tyler, previously of Carrollton; granddaughters, Vicki Olliff and husband David, of Whitehouse, and Kandis Schernaidre and husband John, of Shreveport, La.
"MeMaw's" nurturing compassion was eagerly shared among her seven great-grandchildren: Lisa Betts, April Aldredge, Chris Smith, Brandy Smith, Gabrielle Leandro, Steve Leandro and Kevin Olliff; and four great-great-grandchildren: Trinity Betts, Tori Betts, Christian Smith, and Jackson Aldredge.
Mrs. Keeling's infectious smile, optimistic nature, compassion and sense of humor endeared her to many. Prior to her membership in Westwood Baptist Church, she served as nursery coordinator at Calvary Baptist. In addition, Estelle served as the site manager for the initial opening of the Garden Valley Senior Nutrition Center. After five years in that leadership capacity, she transferred from the Tyler Meals On Wheels program to the Senior Activity Center in Whitehouse. There she served three years as the director of special programs and activities. She then retired to become a full-time caregiver at home for her beloved husband prior to his death on Christmas 1988.
Serving as pallbearers will be Tom Crawford, C.L. Gideon, Ken Helm, Jerry Jernigan, Lenny Myers and Bob Stagner.
Honorary pallbearers are James Cavender, David Beaird, M.D., Bill Boyd, Mack Boyd, Don Gray, William Hobbs, M.D., Jerry Johnson, Nolen Jones, Joe Lisbony, Wes Linthicum, Mike Powell, Don Reynolds, Lee Ridenour, M.D., Terry Thedford and Mark Wyatt.
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." - Revelation 21:4
Stewart Family Funeral Home
7525 Old Jacksonville Highway
Tyler, TX 75703
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph from May 28 to May 29, 2014