Clarence Martin Keaton, 82 of High Point passed away September 7, 2011 in the Hospice Home at High Point. Mr. Keaton was born in Anderson County, SC, on March 7, 1929 to Annie Martin Keaton & Clarence Parks Keaton. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1947 and served in Japan until early 1950, when he returned to Kinston, NC. Martin went to work as a book keeper for The Mallard-Griffin Lumber Company in Kinston where he remained for the next ten years. It was during this time that he met, fell in love with, and married Joan Elizabeth Cole (Betty), with whom he had three sons, and remained unabashedly in love with till the end....
Clarence Martin Keaton, 82 of High Point passed away September 7, 2011 in the Hospice Home at High Point.
Mr. Keaton was born in Anderson County, SC, on March 7, 1929 to Annie Martin Keaton & Clarence Parks Keaton. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1947 and served in Japan until early 1950, when he returned to Kinston, NC.
Martin went to work as a book keeper for The Mallard-Griffin Lumber Company in Kinston where he remained for the next ten years. It was during this time that he met, fell in love with, and married Joan Elizabeth Cole (Betty), with whom he had three sons, and remained unabashedly in love with till the end.
In 1959, Martin and Betty moved the young family to Lakeland, Florida when he accepted a position with the Tampa branch of the High Point, NC based McEwen Lumber Company. Three years later the family moved again to High Point where, for the next 29 years, Martin helped manage and guide the company through steady growth, expansion, a merger with Hammermill Paper Company, and International Paper Company's eventual purchase of Hammermill. He retired as President and CEO in 1991 after 32 years.
The Keatons found a spiritual home within the congregation at Emerywood Baptist Church, where, from 1961, they were active members. Martin served in many capacities at the church and was elected to the position of Life Deacon several years ago.
Keaton enjoyed the life of a gentleman farmer on the family property in west High Point, spending countless hours on the tractors, mowers, and other equipment cultivating vegetable gardens (the last garden was several acres!), and generally reshaping the landscape to the latest specification, usually pointing this way and that to the boys to do this chore or that, who were held captive on Saturday mornings until lunchtime, no matter what "everyone one else" got to do on Saturdays. But the reward was always the bounty of fresh vegetables for dinner all summer and canned and frozen for the winter.
He also loved spending time at the family beach house at Caswell Beach, NC, where he spent as much time getting the house and boat ready for the season as he did actually relaxing and fishing, because that was what he loved the most: the organizing, planning, preparing and executing the plan. A favorite job was to make sure there was a place for everything, and everything was in its place…always! When he was done organizing the house, the boat, the closets, drawers and shelves, he sometimes turned his attention to organizing the kitchen, which would drive Betty crazy…but he assured her it was the best way to have a kitchen set up, although he never cooked as much as a piece of toast. She drew the line, however, when he decided to reorganize her purse and all its contents one day!
Martin loved nothing better than having the family around any chance he could and especially looked forward to the grandchildren as they came along. For the last four years though, the one that got a great share of his attention was the latest addition to the family, Buddy Keaton, a noisy, rambunctious and bossy Yorkshire terrier / Beagle mix, who stole his heart. He often would ask what was for dinner, and was usually not happy if it did not include something he could share with Buddy, who was always under his chair at dinner. Buddy doesn't realize it just yet, but he will be losing some weight.
Martin was preceded in death by: His parents, Annie Martin Keaton and Clarence Parks Keaton, his son, Greg Thomas Keaton, sisters, Helen Keaton Wilson (Louis), and Edna Keaton Wood, brothers, Herbert Parks Keaton (Helen), and Robert Monroe Keaton.
Martin is survived by: His wife, Elizabeth Cole Keaton (Betty) of the home, sons, Gary Martin Keaton of Charleston, SC, and Glen Parks Keaton and wife Susan Fleming Keaton of High Point, granddaughter Sarah Elizabeth Keaton of Banner Elk, NC, grandsons Taylor Cole Keaton of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Andrew Carl Keaton of Durham, NC, and several nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service will be conducted Saturday, September 10th at 3:00 p.m. in Emerywood Baptist Church with the Reverend Dr. Robert U. Ferguson , Jr. officiating. The family will receive friends at Sechrest Funeral Service on E. Lexington Avenue on Friday evening from 6-7:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: The Hospice Home of High Point, 1801 Westchester Drive, High Point, NC 27262 or to Emerywood Baptist Church, 1300 Country Club Drive, High Point, NC 27262.
Please share your condolences with the family at www.sechrestfunerals.com.