by Max Brantley
Here's sad news for the old-timers, like me:
Former Little Rock Mayor and City Director A. M. "Sandy" Keith died Wednesday at 84. He was a character.
My neighbor Sandy's death prompts me to take a point of personal privilege. Pauline Lindsey Davis Watson, widow of Dr. Robert Watson (who pioneered neurosurgery in Arkansas), also died yesterday in Little Rock, at her home on Edgehill. Known to one and all as PLD, Mrs. Watson wasn't a public figure. But she certainly was well-known at the local institutions she cherished -- among them the Aesthetic Club, First United Methodist Church and Mount Holly Cemetery. She was, as the obituaries used to say, from an old Little Rock family. She was also my friend. I came to Little Rock for the first time in 1970, to visit her daughter Olivia, a college pal. Mrs. Watson's hospitality then and later -- along with the Arkansas Gazette I read alongside Dr. Bob in the morning -- were no small factors in my decision to settle here. Her warmth never diminished, nor mine for her.
Alexander M. "Sandy" Keith, died on May 7, 2008. The cause of death was skin cancer, according to his wife, Leah Dungan Keith. At the time of his death, Mr. Keith was 84 years old.
Keith was a certified public accountant, who during his career worked mainly with the firm, Keith, Allen & Pickering. In addition, Keith spent more than a dozen years in public service in Little Rock. Elected to the Little Rock City Board of Directors in 1971, Keith served three consecutive terms. He was elected Mayor in 1979, wishing to serve only six months in the post, when the ordinary term of office for the Mayor was two years. That same year, Keith joined a group of Directors in replacing himself as Mayor with fellow City Director, Webster L. Hubbell.
Following his twelve years on the Little Rock City Board of Directors, Keith was appointed to the Pulaski County Board of Equalization.
During his career, Keith also served as president of the Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants, and was a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Council. He also served on the Arkansas Board of Accountancy. In addition to these, Keith served as Chairman of the St. Vincent’s Infirmary Facilities Board, and as a director of the Benton Savings and Loan. He was a member of the Economic Opportunity Agency, Pulaski County Board, and the Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Committee.
Keith graduated from Little Rock Catholic High and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He served in World War II as Lieutenant (jg) United States Naval Reserve. In addition to his wife, Keith is survived by three children, Alex M. Keith of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Frances Keith Hanafin of McLean, Virginia and Leah T. Keith of New York, New York. Keith is also survived by six grandchildren.
Visitation will be held this evening from 4:00 to 6:00 PM at Ruebel Funeral Home.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 10,
2008 at 10:00 AM at the Cathedral of St. Andrew’s with Msgr. Royce Thomas officiating. Burial will be private.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to the Cathedral of St. Andrews Restoration Project, or to the charity of your choice.
Cremation arrangements by Ruebel Funeral Home, www.ruebelfuneralhome.com