Dan Keath, husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend and good and faithful servant of Christ, finished his earthly race and took his first breath of celestial air in the early morning hours of November 3, 2020. Born on August 8, 1944, he was the second son of Medford and Dorris Keath, and because the country was at war, he was born in Dr. Wood’s Maternity Hospital in Sabinal, Texas. His parents named him James Daniel Keath after a paternal uncle and his maternal grandfather.
Dan grew up and attended school in Sabinal where he excelled in numerous activities including athletics, academics, journalism, and vocational agriculture. He was a stand-out in football, basketball, and tennis, a funny and faithful friend to many, and a smooth dancer on the slab under the stars at Garner State Park. As a senior, he and his tennis partner, Dan O’Bryant (who later played at Wimbledon), won the State Championship in Class A doubles tennis. After graduating high school, he joined his brother, Butch, and his future wife, Madis at Texas A&I University in Kingsville, Texas. He graduated with a degree in Agriculture Education in 1966. That same summer, he married Madis Kay Smith, also of Sabinal, on July 2. They moved to Hondo where both had accepted teaching jobs and began investing their shared life of service in the Hondo community.
As a teacher, coach, driver’s ed instructor, and administrator, Dan served the Hondo Independent School District and local community for over 30 years. During that time and long thereafter, Dan and Madis followed the Owls and were staples at beautiful Barry Field on Friday nights.
Dan and Madis raised their daughters with great love for Jesus, family, and community. The girls spent much time lingering and laughing around the family dinner table, visiting grandparents, checking on cows, and then “breaking-in” to Uncle Butch’s store after hours to get a coke and Hershey bar for the ride home. Julie and Sarah witnessed Dan perform many acts of service with deliberate anonymity. Julie and Sarah loved, and still love, being referred to as “the Keath girls” both in Hondo and Sabinal. Being the daughters of Dan and Madis Keath is one of the greatest privileges of our lives.
Throughout his adult life, Dan served as a lay leader and deacon at the First Baptist Church in Hondo where he taught Sunday school classes, sang in the choir, and volunteered his time and talents in numerous ministries.
Dan enjoyed farming and raising feeder calves. He began those operations with his father in the Sabinal area and continued until his final days. The last several years, he thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon gatherings, with fellow farmers, at the Sabinal Dairy Queen.
The Dairy Queen in Castroville also became a staple when Dan and Madis became Papa and Mit. It was the celebration spot after watching their grandkids compete in sports, first and last days of school, perform in a school play, sing in the choir, or just because. They were often found worshipping in the pews of FBC San Antonio as they watched all five grandchildren get baptized there and sing in the childrens’ and youth choirs. Papa was the best babysitter because he always brought pizza for dinner. Every grandchild knew they were loved and will miss their grandfather greatly.
Honorary pallbearers include longtime friends Mike Nuckles, Freddy Plagens, Terry Tilley, Jack Rushing, Glenn Schweers, Chuck Young, Corky Young, Alan Hammar, Laura Groff, George Riddell, Gale Long, Larry Carroll, James Bohls, David Howard, and George Driskill. Dan loved the camaraderie he shared with these friends, fellow coaches, farmers and ranchers, and servants in his church family.
The family will greet visitors on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 from 5:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Hondo.
A funeral service will be held on Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Hondo
Interment will follow at Sabinal Cemetery.
Pallbearers include grandsons Price Rushing and Kyle Livingston, nephews Clay Keath, Hunter Keath, and Trey Witcher, sons-in-law Brad Livingston and Bobby Jack Rushing, and dear friend Clay Rosenbaum.
Dan was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Butch Keath, all of Sabinal. Dan leaves behind his wife Madis, daughters Julie K. Livingston (Brad) of Castroville, and Sarah Jane Rushing (Bobby Jack) of Leakey, grandchildren W. Price Rushing, Susanna Kay Livingston, Macy Jane Livingston, Tessa Keath Rushing, and Kyle Guthrie Livingston, sister Jane Keath Witcher (Seth) of San Antonio and sister-in-law Ann Keath of Sabinal.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Dorris and Medford Keath endowed scholarship at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor, or the First Baptist Church of Hondo.