Carroll D. Keeter

Published 2:30 pm Monday, February 6, 2023

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COURTLAND – Carroll Dean Keeter, 93, passed away Feb. 4, 2023 in Southampton Memorial Hospital. He was born Dec. 21, 1929 and has been fascinated by flying ever since he was a small boy on a Franklin dairy farm. He left Franklin High School and with a slightly altered birth certificate, joined the Army Air Corps at age 16, where he repaired airplanes.

Carroll D. Keeter

Back in Franklin and selling insurance, he was persuaded by friends to take a drive to VPI where, to avoid the outside heat, he took the entrance test in an air-conditioned room along with his friends. Two weeks later, received his acceptance letter from VPI. Keeter joined the Air ROTC and upon graduation, he attended flight school and became an Air Force pilot. He was in the squadron of the U.S. planes that sat and waited for the signal to attack the Russian forces off the coast of Cuba. He delivered the first Phantom airplane to Iran. Keeter taught Iranian pilots sent here by the Shah, and he flew many missions in Vietnam. On one of these missions, his plane was hit by ground fire and he was forced to eject. He was lucky in that they found and brought him home. He was unlucky as he received a permanent back injury. He was in Saigon when it fell during the last days of the war. Maj. Keeter retired from the Air Force with over 20 years of service. He owned and operated several small businesses in San Antonio, Texas before retiring to a small farm back in Southampton County. He was a member of the Newsoms Ruritan Club, the San Antonio VFW and the Commemorative Air Force.

Survivors include his life partner, Carol Majors; a daughter, Sheila K. Casillas (Larry) and a son, Mark D. Keeter, both of San Antonio, Texas; a sister, Cynthia K. Garris (Wesley) of Windsor; two grandchildren, Megan C. Telles (Jonathan) and Christian Casillas; and a great-grandchild, Dylan Bridgeman. He was predeceased by his parents, Charles O. and Irene Holland Keeter; a sister, Myrtle Goodman and a brother, Charles “Junie” Keeter.

A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9 in Wright Funeral Home with the Rev. Penny Rasnake officiating. Burial with full military honors will follow in Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6 – 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the funeral home and suggests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to a school that Carroll liked, St. Labre Indian School, P.O. Box 797, Ashland, MT 59003-9900.