May 6, 2015 Edition

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Keith Brand (from right) with Santa and other Kiwanis Club members, including Philip Clark and Vickie Mitchell, pass out gifts at a Lawrence County Cooperative School Christmas party in 2010.

Brand remembered as
civic leader, friend

John Bland

Walnut Ridge banker and community leader Keith Brand passed from this life on Monday after a courageous battle over an illness of many months. During his past 12 days in St. Vincent's in Little Rock, his family members and many friends kept constant vigil, checking on his condition and sending prayers on behalf of him and his wife, Tonda.

A service to celebrate his life will be held Friday at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Walnut Ridge. A visitation, also at the church, will be held Thursday from 6-8 p.m.

Mayor Charles Snapp issued a statement on Tuesday. "As mayor of Walnut Ridge, I am requesting that flags in Walnut Ridge be flown at half staff on Friday, the day of Keith Brand's funeral. We want to honor and remember Keith as a civic leader, school board member and friend to all," said Snapp.

Terry Belcher, superintendent of the Lawrence County School District, worked with Keith many years during his four terms of service on the school board. "He was my student, my mentor, my boss and most of all, my friend," Belcher said.

"He was a tremendous community leader for our town and a leader among our board," he said. "It is a great loss to our community, and he will certainly be missed in our school."

Vickie Mitchell, vice president and branch manager of Iberiabank in Walnut Ridge, said, "Keith and I worked together at Citizens National Bank starting in the late '70s. I have considered Keith a good friend since we started working together over 35 years ago." Both Vickie and Keith have also been members of the Kiwanis Club for a number of years.

"We have co-chaired the Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast for several years, and it will be difficult this Saturday at the pancake breakfast without him," she said.

"Most recently, we started working together on the Lawrence County School Board. I will truly miss him both as a friend and coworker," Mitchell added.

Rita Taylor worked with Keith for more than 15 years at Regions Bank in Walnut Ridge, where she is a business banking assistant. "He was great at his job, had a good relationship with our customers and with his co-workers. Keith was serious about his job but enjoyed life and loved his family more than anything."

Bill Wilcoxson, branch sales manager at Regions, was one of Keith's closest friends. "I lost a brother, lifetime friend and coworker." The two had been friends since preschool, and Bill had looked forward to many more years with him. "He will be missed by all."

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