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Betty Goodin Keever

“But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalms 86:15

Betty Goodin Keever, 86, of Erwin, went to be with the Lord on Friday, April 10, 2015. She passed away early that morning at the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital from natural causes.

She was born March 14, 1929, to the late Thomas E. Goodin, Jr., and Carolyn Dickenson Harris. She was a life-long native of Erwin and graduated from Unicoi County High School. Betty was active with several clubs in high school and also a majorette in the marching band. After high school, she continued her education at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrigut, Tn., and ETSU, earning a B.S. in Education, with a major in English. She carried with her to the end the fondest memories of those high school and college days –the trips, the dances, the competitions, the living! And most importantly, the meaningful friendships made and sustained.

She returned to Erwin after college in 1950 and began a career in teaching that would span 39 years, encompassing schools in all corners of Unicoi County. In the early days, she taught at the small schools in Bumpass Cove and Mountain Dale communities – one room with wood stoves for heat, and all eight grades and subjects! She married Claude Keever also in ’50 and had a son, Stephen, in 1951.

Then it was on to Martin Chapel school. She then had another son, Sam, in 1961. Next was Elm Street, and then Fishery school where she was principal for a time, until its unfortunate burning in the mid-60’s. The students and teachers were integrated into other schools, her going to Love Street school with a class size of 48 one year. Afterwards, she went to Evans Elementary in 1970-71, where she taught for a good part of her career. Her last three years were at Unicoi County High School, retiring in 1989.

She cared deeply for all her classes and students, and sometimes suffered inside because of disadvantages her students endured that were no fault of their own and out of her control. Former students and fellow teachers all related stories back to her family of how much she was liked, loved, and respected in her teaching career.

She relished her retirement years her way because, she said, “I earned it!” She ran with her teaching buddies, travelled to visit family here and there, and also enjoyed the Centenary United Methodist Church community even as her attendance fell in her later years due to her health. She loved God and the Christian life, and family never heard of a fear of anything from her – except for thunderstorms.

Along with her parents, Betty was preceded in death by her sister, Jean Goodin Peterson. Also passing away in 2014, her loving husband of 37 years, Claude Keever, Jr.

Betty is survived by a brother, Dr. Tom Goodin III of Conover, N.C.; two sons, Stephen Lee Keever, of Chattanooga, and Samuel Brian Keever, of Erwin. Also a heartfelt thank you to surviving nieces; Sherry Ebel (husband Chris), and Pam Mobley (husband Ed). You both were “favorites”, so you don’t have to argue anymore. A nephew survives, Tom Goodin IV, and also special cousins Caroline Chinouth, Dee and David Goodin, and Ellen Lee Sewell. Bless all of you for being there for her at the end.

The family would like to sincerely thank the staff at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital and the Center on Aging for your unparalleled compassion and attention to family needs at the end. Dr. Wegman and Dr. Hardy (UCMH), and Terry Morgan, Lisa Davis, and Brandy Horton(COA) we appreciate your truthfulness to do whatever it took for comfort. To all the Nurses and CNA’s that handled Betty in the last few weeks, be aware we can’t list all of you, but know and be aware that none of you get the credit and attention you deserve. All of your jobs are severely underrated and it takes a special person to show that high level of caregiving, professionalism, and patience. God bless you all. You will not be forgotten.

The family respectfully requests the honor of your presence as we remember and offer tribute for the life of Betty Goodin Keever in a funeral service to be held at 6:00 PM, Monday, April 13, 2015, at Centenary United Methodist Church, 203 N. Elm Ave, Erwin, TN 37650 with Reverend Kim Isley officiating. A visitation period to share memories and offer support to the family will begin at 4:00 PM and continue until service time on Monday at Centenary United Methodist Church.
A committal service will be at 2:00 PM, Tuesday, April 14, 2015, at Evergreen Cemetery. Those who plan to attend are to meet at Evergreen Cemetery by 1:50 PM.

Condolences and memories may be shared with the family through our website at These arrangements are made especially for the family and friends of Betty Goodin Keever through Valley Funeral Home, 1085 N. Main Ave., Erwin, TN, 423-743-9187.