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From his early years in Maysville, Jerry Keys began a successful journey into the world of sports. His remarkable football and track accomplishments at both the high school and university levels moved him to understand the positive contributions that sports can make in a young person’s life. For 30 years, Jerry’s mission as a coach, teacher and mentor was to develop a winning attitude, a strong work ethic and encourage Christian values in the hundreds of young students and athletes that were his responsibility. At the age of 85, Jerry passed from this world on Saturday, October 17, 2020, leaving a life long legacy that earnestly shouts “mission accomplished”.
Jerry’s quest for excellence required only the best for himself as well as others. In 1953, when the legendary football coach, Bud Wilkinson, recruited Jerry from his state championship Maysville High School football team, he knew this was the quality program to join and Jerry became a Sooner! In later years, team memberships at Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College and East Central University resulted in bachelors and master’s degrees. A major college accomplishment was his marriage to his soulmate of 63 years, Kathryn Ross Keys, who will always cherish their loving years together as educators, parents, community members and Mustang advocates.
Graduating launched an amazing coaching and teaching career from Perryton, Texas to the Oklahoma schools of Beaver, Texhoma and Atoka. After two consecutive state championships in football while coaching with the famous Oklahoma Coach Tom McVay, Jerry knew he had a championship model. In 1972, he took all his coaching experiences to Oologah, and began the revitalization process as Oologah’s head football coach. During his 17 year tenure with the Oologah School System, pride started swelling, community support many years. Jerry was an award winning coach in many respects and while creating an admirable professional life, he also excelled as a family man and father. His three children, Ted Keys, Carie Seratt and Mark Keys, completed graduation from Oologah High School and are productive citizens as a result of their father’s guidance.
To cherish his memory, Jerry leaves behind his wife, Kathryn; his three children, Ted and his wife, Lori, of Oologah; Carie and her husband, Larry, of Phoenix; and Mark and his wife, Diana, of Oologah; as well as his 6 grandchildren, Levi, Elizabeth, James, Grant, Blanca and Sara; 3 great-grandchildren, Carson, Moxie and Ayannah; brother, Don Keys of Eufaula, Alabama; two sisters, Lolita Green of Tulsa and Martha Ogle of Eufaula.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, Loy and Cora Sullivan Keys; sisters: Lillie Mae, June and Betty; brother, Kenneth; and grandson, Teddy.
Jerry’s loved ones appreciate the love demonstrated to the family by choosing to join us in the celebration of his life at the Oologah Assembly of God Church, on Saturday, October 24, 2020, at 11:00 a.m.
Services will be under the direction of Parks Brothers Funeral Home of Okemah.
Your love will be with us as we journey to Okemah for a private family burial.
Online condolences may be made at www.ParksBrothersFuneralHome.com.