Dr. Frank Lee Keith


1860 - 1929
Published by THE LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Fri. April 26, 1929

-- Dr. F. L. Keith, Seized With Heart Attack While Seated in Chair in Home,
Died Without Speaking.

Dr. Frank Lee Keith, prominent local physician, died suddenly in his Rivermines home Monday evening, April 22, 1929, at ten forty o'clock, within a few minutes after he was seized with a severe heart attack.  He was 68 years, 10 months and 26 days of age at the time of his death.  Funeral services were held at the Flat River Presbyterian Church Thursday afternoon at two o'clock, conducted by Rev. J. C. Berger, pastor.  Interment was at the Masonic Cemetery, Farmington.  Active pall bearers at the funeral, which was one of the largest in the history of Flat River, were Drs. Malcolm Bliss, Carl Powell and John Morfit of St. Louis, Dr. T. L. Haney, Flat River, William Harlan, Farmington, and George C. Whaley, St. Francois.  Honorary pall bearers included a large number of his former friends and professional and business associates.  Local business houses closed during the hour of the funeral.

Frank Lee Keith was born in St. Francois County May 26, 1860, and was the eldest son of Dr. A. W. Keith, one of the early pioneer physicians in the county.  Procuring his early education in local schools, he entered the old St. Louis Medical College, from which he graduated with honors.  He later took a post graduate course in New York, and was married in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1883, taking as his bride Mary De Lisser of that city.  He is survived by his widow, Mrs. Mary Keith, and four daughters, Miss Marion, St. Louis; Mrs. D. M. Dunbar, Chucuicanata, Chile; Mrs. C. O. Inman, St. Louis; and Miss Marguerite, at home.  A son, Glenwood, preceded the father in death about six months.

Dr. Keith had not been keeping regular hours at his Flat River office for several months past because of his physical condition, and spent some time in a hospital in St. Louis some weeks ago.  Monday evening, after spending the evening in his home with members of his family, the fatal attack struck him.  Other members of the family had left him just a moment before and had gone upstairs, but it was not their custom to leave him alone except for very brief intervals, therefore one of them, upon hearing a slight noise downstairs, immediately came down.  She found her father slumped in his chair, still breathing but unconscious.  She immediately called the others to his side, but he passed away in a very few moments without being able to speak.

With 44 years of active practice to his credit, Dr. Keith was the oldest physician in the county from the standpoint of service.  Following completion of his schooling he chose to follow in the footsteps of his father and took up practice in his native county.  He always took an active part in public affairs, and was the first superintendent of Missouri State Hospital No. 4, at Farmington.  He was appointed to that post by former Governor Alexander M. Dockery.  However, he preferred private practice to hospital work, and again returned to it after three years, maintaining an office in Farmington for several years.  He then came to Flat River, where he has followed his profession for twenty-five years.  For twenty years he was resident physician and surgeon for the Doe Run Lead Company.

He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Knights Templar and Shriners, and was a charter member of the University Club, St. Louis.  He was a keen observer and a constant student, characteristics which kept him well up on the progress of his profession, and his congenial personality attracted many friends.  This was especially true of young people, who found in him a companion with the wisdom of mature years, softened by a thorough understanding of youth, a rare combination, indeed.

There is no way in which the service rendered to a community by a physician can be measured.  If such a thing were possible, there is no question about the high rank of this grand old man of medicine.  The total miles he covered, both day and night, as he answered the call of distress, on horseback, in his buggy, and in automobiles, would unquestionably reach an almost unbelievable sum, for forty- four years is a long, long time, and in that many years of active practice a busy doctor will travel far.  That Dr. Keith will be missed in this community, which might almost be said to have grown up around him, is putting the fact too mildly.  In those forty-four years of service in this immediate vicinity, and surrounding territory, his practice brought him into intimate touch with the home lives of thousands of our people.  Many of our citizens first saw the light of day under his skilled supervision, and from that time on through their lives, to date, he has been the champion who fought off disease and kept them in health and strength.   His experience was such that he probably saw more of the development of the mining industry in this district than any, other one man in it at this time.  He knew Doe Run in its palmy days, and has known Rivermines and Flat River from their infancy.  Called into the homes of officials, foremen and laborers alike, his knowledge was an intimate knowledge of the human side of the growth and development of the district which could come to none other than a family physician of wide general practice.

His position in his splendid home was that of a loyal and devoted husband and father.  The surviving members of that family circle are alone able to estimate the extent of their loss.  We recommend to them in this hour of bereavement, that they take comfort from his long period of unselfish public service during which he has accomplished so much for the relief of human suffering, and accept the sympathy of all of our people, who, we know, will join us in extending condolence.

Obit for Mother of Dr. Frank L. Keith:

LEAD BELT NEWS, Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO, Fri. Oct. 20, 1922


Mrs. Margaret Ann Keith, who made her home in St. Francois County for many years, but has been living in St. Louis for the past three or four years, died at her home Friday afternoon at 3 o'clock, following a two weeks illness with pneumonia.  She was 83 years of age, and was the widow of Dr. A. W. Keith, who practiced his profession in Bonne Terre, previous to his
death, 25 years ago.

The remains were brought to Bonne Terre Sunday morning and taken directly to the Methodist church in that town, and a funeral service conducted by Rev. W. J. Hayes, of University City, a life long friend of the Keith family, and former pastor of the Bonne Terre Methodist church.  Interment was made by the side of her husband in Bonne Terre cemetery.

Mrs. Keith lived the greater part of her long life in this section of the state.   Shortly after her marriage, she and her husband settled at Big River Mills, and lived there for a number of years.  They then located in Bonne Terre.  Dr. and Mrs. Keith were charter members of the Bonne Terre Methodist church and were among its most loyal supporters during the early days of its history.  Dr. Keith was one of the pioneer physicians of the Lead Belt.

To this union six children were born.  Three sons preceeded the mother in death, one in infancy.  A second son, Marion Keith, met accidental death about 20 years ago, having been shot while hunting.  Another son, Linn Keith, died about 28 years ago, shortly after having completed a course in dentistry in St. Louis University.

The surviving children are Dr. F. L. Keith, of Flat River; and Mrs. Bettie Perry and Mrs. Mattie Stephan, both of St. Louis.  The two daughters are widows and they and their mother had been making their home at 5877 Washington Avenue.  She is also survived by two sisters, Mrs. Mat Norwine, of Bonne Terre and Mrs. Nannie Love, of Webster Groves, who has reached the advanced age of 87 years.

Mrs. Keith was a great grand niece of Thomas H. Benton, one of Missouri's most famous men.