Keith Gwin Killebrew
Keath Gwin Killebrew was born on March 16, 1977. He was raised in a tiny, family-oriented community in the Mississippi Delta – Horseshoe Lake, just outside of Tchula. It is from these unassuming roots that he developed into a man who touched so many lives and aspired to touch many thousands more.
From an early age, Keath exhibited a passion for agriculture and all things outdoors. Who would have known that the young Delta boy plowing rows into the shag carpet with toy tractors would turn into a man overseeing over ten thousand acres of farmland sprawling over the entire state of Mississippi? If you knew Keath Killebrew as a person, you wouldn’t be surprised. His infectious laughter, warm smile and second-to-none work ethic were magnetic. If you were lucky enough to be welcomed into his close-knit inner circle of friends, you knew there was no limit to the greatness he could achieve.
He met his soul mate, Alyssa Ellis in 1992. It is this relationship that helped cultivate his artistic and creative talents. Artwork, photography, publishing, woodworking--Keath could do it all. He taught welding to college students while painting gallery worthy pieces of art. Ultimately, his story is best summarized by his craftmanship with the earth.
Keath and his brother Heath started Killebrew Cotton Company from the ground up. Their first subordinated loan took 6 months for approval. They built their first 1300-acre farm into a 17,000-acre behemoth becoming the largest cotton producer in Mississippi (all the while growing soybeans, rice, watermelons, and peanuts). Being the biggest in Mississippi might seem like the pinnacle for the little boy from Horseshoe, but Keath saw it as the beginning, and he turned his eyes toward South America.
Keath was a visionary, and he fell in love with the people of Paraguay-the land of opportunity. His vision was not one of self-indulgence and self-advancement. Keath saw the poverty and need of thousands of people living in the remote Gran Chaco. His vision was to build a new community--one that created opportunity and hope for many in desperate need. Over the course of several years, he made numerous trips to the area, and, with the blessing of President Mario Aldo Benitez, he planned to create a farming community complete with homes, schools, churches, and medical services that centered around a cotton farming operation. Keath saw potential where others saw only poverty. He understood the land and the untapped resources, and he knew he could make a difference. This was his ultimate mission--to improve the lives of thousands while imparting the knowledge that he had gained over the years following his passion. His journey ended on December 3, 2021, during a reconnaissance flight over that area-- the place he had grown to love so well. He was aboard a Cessna 185 with pilot, Paul Rust, a friend, and fellow farmer.
Keath was preceded in death by his daughter, Sara Elizabeth Killebrew, and his grandparents, John Thomas “Tucker” Pierce Jr. of Coxburg, MS, and Gertrude Irene Killebrew of Tchula, MS.
Survivors include his wife, Dr. Alyssa Ellis Killebrew of Madison, MS; daughter, Vivian Keeler Killebrew of Madison, MS; grandmother, Helen Ferrell Pierce of Ridgeland, MS; father, Zack Killebrew (Jill) of Tchula, MS; mother, Pam Killebrew of Madison, MS; sister, Dr. Heather Killebrew Tutor (Sonny) of Madison; brother, Heath Killebrew (Mary Taylor) of Greenwood, MS; nieces, Sarah Scott Sellers, Lyndsey Tutor, Julia Killebrew, Katherine Killebrew, and Olivia Killebrew; nephews, Hayden Tutor and Jackson Sellers; aunts, Dona Pierce Cotten, Linda Killebrew Johnson, Kathy Pierce Jones; and uncle, John Thomas Pierce III.
Pallbearers include Todd Mardis, Charlie Jones, Patrick Martin, Larry Smith, Nicholas O’Neal, Patrick Malouf, Chris McFarland, Jay McBride, Joey Cole, Jeremy Waltrip, and Shae Whitfield
A celebration of life will take place on Friday, December 17, 2021, at 10 AM at Pinelake Church in Madison, Mississippi. Please join us as we share Keath’s epic life story.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Pinelake Missions https://pinelake.org/give or Will Go Ministry https://wewillgo.org.
Wilson and Knight Funeral Home is in charge. Online guest book may be signed at www.wilsonandknight.com