Beloved husband, father, grandfather, teacher, and pastor, Gerald L. Keown passed away in the morning hours of December 14, 2021, at the age of 75.
Born in Anniston, Alabama, to Reverend Harlice and Mildred Keown, Gerald showed an academic flair at an early age. He graduated from T.R. Miller High School in Brewton, Alabama, and set his sights on becoming a medical doctor. He graduated from the University of Alabama in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. That year he joined the United States Navy and worked in the Hospital Corps as an Operating Room Technician. Upon completing his tour of duty in 1972, he married Sharon Alverson and began attending The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he obtained a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Philosophy in Old Testament Studies. During this time, Gerald and Sharon welcomed two daughters, Stephanie and Allison.
After a short professorship at the University of Missouri, Gerald returned to Louisville as an Assistant Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1982, became an Associate Professor in 1986, and Associate Dean in 1990. In 1996, he joined the faculty of Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, and taught Old Testament Interpretation, becoming the Associate Dean in 2006 and also Chair of Biblical Studies in 2007. He served both positions and taught until his retirement from Gardner-Webb in 2019, when he became Professor Emeritus.
During his teaching career, he had the opportunity to travel all over the world, teaching in Trinidad & Tobago, Singapore, Russia, and Cuba. He participated in archeological digs in Jordan and traveled multiple times to the Holy Land. Both at home and abroad, he influenced and was influenced by the people and cultures he encountered.
He was a published author, pastor, and interim pastor, but his first love was the classroom.
After his retirement, he enjoyed spending extra time with his family, including his beloved grandson, golfing, and experimenting in the kitchen. He will be sorely missed by those left behind, including his wife of nearly 49 years (Dec. 29), Sharon (Alverson); two daughters, Stephanie Keown (Nathan Diffee) and Allison Colapietro (Bob); grandson, Bobby; sister Elaine Stephens (Bill); nephew, David Stephens.
A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, December 18, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. at Fernwood Baptist Church, 200 Fernwood Drive, Spartanburg, South Carolina 29307. The service will also be live streamed on the church’s Facebook page and on their website: www.fernwoodchurch.org.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either Fernwood Baptist Church, P.O. Box 7058, Spartanburg, SC 29304 or to the Dr. Gerald Keown Divinity Endowed Scholarship Fund at Gardner-Webb University. Donations may be made online at www.gardner-webb.edu/give. (Please indicate it is in memory of Dr. Keown in the notes section.)
We respectfully request that everyone wear a mask for safety precautions.
Floyd’s North Church Street Chapel