Born August 31st, 1959 in Gurdon, Arkansas to Mack and Wanda Crow, Joe Keith proved to be personable, full of life, strong and determined. He was blessed with big beautiful bright eyes and a contagious smile that was certain to capture your attention. Without prejudice, he eagerly used his vivacious charm and enormous sense of humor to lighten the heavy hearts of all he knew.
Joe loved to talk, and before he could walk, a great aunt spoke a blessing over him, that, one day, he would become a speaker, or perhaps a preacher. Soon, Joe Keith began receiving his foundation in Biblical scripture at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Gurdon, through songs, Sunday school, and regular church service.
Like many young lads in the south, the adolescent Joe Keith would ride his bike feverishly down the dirt roads, unscathed by the scrapes and scars from his falls. Sometimes he and his older brother Michael would secretly slip off to the nearest swimming hole and swim all day, praying that they wouldn’t get caught. His gift of gab, practical jokes and quick-wit would often cause him to get appropriately reprimanded at home. Still, Keith remained fearless, but respectful, always speaking his mind, and was never afraid to say what the other kids were thinking. After many encounters with Joe, his parents learned that these traits were surely his God-given gifts.
Throughout Junior high and high school, Joe showed tremendous enthusiasm and excellence in basketball, football, and track. With equal fervor, he threw himself into what would become one of the most important chapters of his life, his marriage commitment to his junior high sweetheart, Carolyn Jo Giles. Together, Joe Keith and Carolyn shared a beautiful devotion for one another that radiated like a brilliant and beautiful light for others to emulate. To their inseparable and prosperous union, God blessed them with two lovely children, LaBaron Travonn and Ebonee Vashun.
As a husband and father, Joe began to feel a strong sense of spiritual assignment to inspire and enrich the lives of not only his family, but everyone he met. Consequently, at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Gurdon, Joe became a Sunday school teacher, Superintendant of the Sunday school, deacon, and also, drove the church bus to deliver the children to church. He wanted to make sure that every child had a chance to be in church.
Led by the Holy Spirit, Joe and Carolyn founded, Word of Faith Christian Center, where the Word of God was at the center of their ministry. Joe’s anointing manifested in his preaching, teaching, singing and ability to encourage. He and Carolyn visited the sick and the elderly, bearing gifts of love. Joe Keith encouraged the involvement of local youth to use their gifts, and to bring “a fresh praise” into the house of the Lord. He supported his son, Travonn to play the drums, his daughter, Ebonee to minister in music, and his wife, Carolyn to write her now cherished weekly devotional, just to name a few.
Joe Keith was blessed with a career of more than 27 years at Union Pacific railroad, enabling him to be a gratifying provider for his family. To his surprise, the Union Pacific railroad began to offer him many opportunities to impart God’s wisdom and inspiration into the lives of his co-workers. For this, he remained grateful to the very end.
He lived the sermons he preached from the pulpit…“To love thy God with all thy heart, mind and soul… and thy neighbor as thyself.”
Remembering Proverbs 13:22 which says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,” Joe was determined to focus on a Christ-centered legacy. He wanted to create an inheritance of truth, honor, integrity and belief in God, not only for his wife, children and grandchildren, but for the community in which he lived.
“Well done Joe. Yes, we are saddened for our loss, but forever thankful to the Lord for loaning us, you, His precious child, A Man of Valor.”
His legacy will live on in the lives of his beautiful wife, Carolyn Jo; his children, LaBaron Travonn Crow of Ashdown, AR and Ebonee V. Cole (Calvin) of Atlanta, GA; His mother, Wanda Crow of Gurdon, Ar.; his sister, Darlene McWilliams of Plainfield, NJ and one brother Michael Crow (Deborah) of Gurdon, AR.; three granddaughters, Alexis Crow of Bryant, AR. and Camryn and Cailyn Cole of Atlanta, GA. Three special aunts, Queen Hughes of Rockford, IL and Ruth Ross of Springfield, OH and Alice Loudermilk of Los Angeles, CA and a caravan of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
The Crow family has planned a service of Celebration and Thanksgiving honoring the life of their beloved Joe Keith Crow, to be held on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, at 11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary of Second Baptist Church in Arkadelphia. Rev. James Harvey the pastor of Soldiers for Christ in Amite, Louisiana will preach the celebration message.
The committal service and final resting place will be at Rose Hedge Cemetery in Gurdon, Arkansas.
Those who want to respectively view Pastor Crow may do so, on Tuesday, November 1st from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. and views the Images of Life DVD.
Bearers of the casket will be A. T. Henderson, Phillip Giles, Mike McKenzie, Anthony Anderson, Gary Wayne Anderson, Brad Montgomery, Ed Williams and Craig Ivy.