Joseph Leland Keith, III
1/30/2019


Joseph Leland Keith, III, 86, a man of great character and a character of a man, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 30, 2019. “Joe” was always ready to offer a kind word, helping hand or show genuine interest in the lives of family and friends. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather who put the needs of others first. Joe was quite a prankster. Whether it was adding unwanted groceries to shopping carts at Lees Market, building floats for the Westport “Horrible Day” Parade or kidnapping an outhouse to place on an
unsuspecting friend’s lawn, Joe, along with his late wife Sally (MacVicar), never shied away from irreverent fun.

Born to George K. & Susanna B. Keith of Grafton, MA, Joe and his sister Carol grew up on an idyllic farm on Carroll Rd. He graduated from Noble and Greenough School in Dedham and went on to study Textile Engineering at North Carolina State University, leaving after his junior year to serve in the Army. After his stint in the army, he returned to complete his BS degree . He began his career in the textile industry in Belton, SC. He came home to marry his childhood sweetheart Sally, and they began their life together. His next job brought him to Fitchburg Yarn, living in Ashburnham, MA. It was here that he raised his family and dedicated many hours to Boy Scouts, Fitchburg United Fund, and the Ashburnham Community Church.

50 years ago, they moved to Westport and restored the revolutionary era home of Capt. James Brightman and established Horseneck Nurseries. A nurseryman by day, he dedicated much time to his community. He served for 25 years on the Westport Zoning Board of Appeals and became a founding member of the River Defense Fund (now WRWA) and a board member of the Bristol County Farm Bureau. In 1979, he spread the word about land protection and the
newly minted Massachusetts APR program.

Joe was the epitome of a gentleman. On boards he was an engaged, dedicated man of principle who was kind in his approach to others. His honesty was absolute. Joe was never one to bend a rule. He made everyone feel welcome in his home. He was humble not wanting credit for his actions. He had a mission to be friendly to everyone. A grumpy person who crossed his path regularly (on trips to the Post Office, Lees Market, the dump and the Apothecary) would find
themselves a target of his friendliness until he garnered a smile.

He is survived by his cousin Peggy Keith; his children John Keith and wife Song of Villa Rica, GA; Kathryn Gollub and husband Brian of Dartmouth, MA; Lyn Keith of Westport, MA; and George Keith of New Bedford, MA. He is also survived by grandchildren Clayton Keith (Lisa), Malcolm Keith, Eliza Gollub (Leonardo Covarrubias) and Samantha Gollub; great grandchildren
Duncan Keith, Ari Covarrubias, and Josephine Covarrubias; sister-in-law Twinkie Henderson and husband Alex; nephews JP Henderson and Ned Webster; nieces Sara Winship and Sue Ries; caregivers Charlene and Kelsey; and dear friends Barri Throop and Cleo Fortier.

As Joe would say, “That’s the poop from the coop.”

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Mass Audubon, Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, 1280 Horseneck Rd., Westport, MA 02790 or WRWA, PO Box 3427, Westport, MA 02790.

A celebration of Joe’s life will be held at a later date.

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Potter Funeral Service
81 Reed Road
Westport, MA USA 02790
508-636-2100