Irma Rooks Keith, age 93, passed away Monday, December 12, 2022 at the Davis Community in Porters Neck.
Irma was born in Pender County on April 4, 1929. Her parents were Major Allison and Sabrey Eliza Sikes Rooks. She is predeceased by her siblings Melza Rooks, Richard Rooks, Lewis Rooks, Virginia Sanderson, Al Rooks, and Nancy Rushing. She was married for 51 years to Edgar Barnes Keith who died in 2000.
Irma graduated from Long Creek Grady High School as valedictorian, and attended King’s Business College in Raleigh.
Irma’s mother, Sabrey, died in 1940 when Irma was 10. This is was the beginning of a very long life of service for Irma, as she helped to care for her siblings and the family business. She had a caregiving spirit that shined bright for everyone in her life, especially her family. As her family and friends aged, she cherished being the caregiver.
Every holiday and birthday were special, without fail, no matter what else was happening in her life. Christmas was her favorite time of year, and she would work for weeks to make sure that all of the traditional baked goods were produced and ensured everyone in her family felt special throughout the season. Her cooking will always be remembered, with her special fried chicken, butter beans, sweet tea, and fruitcake cookies being some of the highlights. Many backyard pickup basketball games with Julian’s friends were powered by that sweet tea. Her command of the kitchen was not to be challenged… it was small by today’s standards, and her grandchildren learned to not enter the space unless invited. Her hospitality was unrivaled – she never knew a stranger.
Edgar and Irma had many great adventures on their own, as well as with family and friends. They loved taking their grandchildren on summer vacations, traveling up and down the East coast going to theme parks and historic sites. They later got an RV and traveled across America multiple times. Many friends were made along the way, especially through the RV camping club that they joined.
Irma was a faithful member of Winter Park Baptist Church since 1959. She and Edgar owned and operated Quality Welding and Tank Company for many years. Edgar was the love of her life since the summer of 1949.
She is survived by her children, Amelia Keith Wood and husband Randy of Conway, SC, Eddie Keith of Wilmington, and Julian Keith and his wife Amy of Wilmington; grandchildren, Keith Wood and his wife Kimberly, Jay Wood and his wife Lauren, Gabriel Keith, and Amelia Keith; great grandchildren Riley Wood, Lauren Langston, and Conner Langston.
The family will receive friends Saturday, December 17, at 10am at Winter Park Baptist Church with funeral services to follow at 11am. Burial will be in Oleander Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Winter Park Baptist Church, Lower Cape Fear Life Care, or the charity of your choice.