Phillip Keen, 85, passed away unexpectedly late Saturday night surrounded by family. He was born on August 21, 1935, and was a lifelong resident of Erwin.
He graduated valedictorian of his high school class. Upon graduation, he built Keen’s Body Shop from the ground up, earning the highest levels of respect for his craft. He was a hard-working man and worked at the body shop full time until his death.
Phillip was a gifted and skilled man and set high standards of excellence in everything he did. He built his first car before turning 16, using parts from a salvage yard, and then hand-built his own boat before graduating high school. He went on to restore several classic and antique cars.
He enjoyed building and flying remote control airplanes and helped to establish and support the Harnett Mini Aero Club.
He operated his own sawmill and was a master woodworker, where trees and raw wood became handcrafted heirlooms for his family and friends.
He enjoyed working in his yard and gardening. He loved bluebirds and created an environment around his home where they could thrive. He loved the beach and fishing in the sound and the ocean. He was truly a Renaissance man. Phillip’s greatest gift, however, was the love and care he had for his family.
Phillip was predeceased by his parents, Neill Wendell and Donnie Mae Keen, and his siblings N.W. Keen, Sylvia Bayles, and Ronald Keen. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary Honeycutt Keen; daughter, Donna Sawyer and husband Ty; son, Michael Keen and wife Frankie; grandchildren, Kyle Stewart, Allison Keen, and Joshua Keen; step-grandchildren, Tyler Sawyer and wife Megan, Lindsay Peregoy and husband John; and great-grandchild, Kenzie Stewart.
The family will receive friends Wednesday, May 12, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. at Erwin Church of God in Erwin. The funeral service will immediately follow at 3:00 p.m., officiated by Pastor Tim Cowan. Interment will follow at Erwin Memorial Park.
Flowers are welcome. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the North American Bluebird Society in the care of Ken Kernodle at 3102 Doubleday Place, Durham, NC 27705.
In order to stay in compliance with NC COVID law, social distancing measures must be practiced at all times and a mask must be worn during all services.
Condolences may be made at www.westanddunn.com
A Service of West & Dunn Funeral Home of Erwin, North Carolina
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Phillip Rogers Keen, please visit our floral store.