Graeme McGregor Keith Sr. ’54

Graeme McGregor Keith was welcomed home on March 31, 2023 with shouts of adulation and triumphant celebrations as he entered the gates of heaven, embraced in the loving arms of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. For those of us left behind, we grieve, but we grieve with hope, knowing that one day we too will be reunited, worshiping Jesus with him.

Graeme was born November 12, 1932, in Greenwood, South Carolina, the son of William Calhoun and Lucille Harvey Keith, and brother to his best friend, the late William “Bill” Harvey Keith.

Graeme entered this world with God-given curiosity, charm and charisma, a drive and a spirit for excellence, the ability to make friends that transcended space and time, and was the ever-enduring epitome of a southern gentleman.

Graeme graduated from Greenwood High School and later attended Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, on a full athletic scholarship. There he displayed his talents both on the golf course and as the captain of the Davidson Wildcats basketball team. Ever the purser of excellence, his eyes met that pinnacle the day he crossed paths with Gloria Ellen Dowd one fateful evening on the campus of Queens College. They were married on December 12, 1954 at Myers Park Methodist Church in Charlotte. Gloria was the crown jewel and love of Graeme’s life for 63 years, and as she herself penned, “their love was set in eternity,” and into eternity they shall reunite. Gloria was called home into the arms of her loving Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on August 30th, 2017.

Graeme served in the United States Army as 1st Lieutenant from 1954 to 1956 and in May of 1956, Graeme embarked on a career in banking that would eventually position him to become the President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of a British bank’s major U.S. subsidiary, BarclaysAmerican. Prior to that, he served faithfully for 17 years with First Union National Bank as City Executive and Regional Executive Vice President in Durham, Greensboro, and Charlotte. Graeme’s experience in the North Carolina market poised him to venture south to expand and grow the Georgia banking market. There, Graeme held the position of President for Georgia Railroad Bank & Trust Company as well as Vice Chairman of First Railroad & Banking Company.

However, it was a fateful day in February 1989 when he and his first-born son, Graeme (Greg) McGregor Keith, Jr. decided to step out in faith and build something together that even their dreams could not comprehend. Their desire was to honor God and glorify Him forever. This manifested itself in the business they founded, The Keith Corporation, a privately-held, full-service commercial real estate firm. Their client portfolio includes a wide range of companies including multinational Fortune 500 corporations, top-rated hospitals, Department of Defense contractors, industry giants, and fast-growth startups. For the past 34 years, Graeme and his team have delivered the highest level of quality, service, commitment and excellence to their clients. What a joy it was for Graeme to know that what started as a step of faith with Greg would be a legacy that would carry on from one generation to the next, now with two of his grandsons as a part of the business.

This same level of excellence and desire to serve carried over to all aspects of Graeme’s life, including his civic endeavors and philanthropic ventures. Graeme was an active member and elder at his church, Myers Park Presbyterian Church. Graeme also served as Board Emeritus for Samaritan’s Purse as well as Board Emeritus for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Graeme later served as Elder of Moments of Hope Church. He was honored to be the Director of The Good Fellows Club and Trustee for the Metropolitan YMCA of Greater Charlotte.

Further investments to his community included Board of Trustees for Southeast Bankcard Association; Civilian Aid to the Secretary of the Army for the State of Georgia; Board of Trustees for Augusta Preparatory School; President for the Augusta Chamber of Commerce; Chairman and Corporate Marketing Committee for American Bankers Association; President’s Advisory Council for the Medical College of Georgia; Chairman for St. Joseph Hospital; Director for First Financial Management Corporation; Treasurer and Member of the Executive Committee for Charlotte Chamber of Commerce; Chairman of the YMCA’s many Capital Campaigns; Chairman of Capital Campaigns for both his alma mater, Davidson College, and his beloved wife’s alma mater, Queens University; President of Charlotte City Club; Vice President for University Research Park; Board of Directors for First Union Bank; Board of Trustees for Arts & Science Council; Director for Presbyterian Hospital Foundation; Director for Foundation for the Carolinas; Board of Trustees for The University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Board of Trustees, Chairman, and Head of Development Committee for Davidson College; Chairman of the 1996 Carolinas Billy Graham Crusade; and Board Chairman for Communities in Schools of North Carolina.

Graeme was also a recipient of the John R. Mott Award for YMCA of Greater Charlotte; Davidson College Distinguished Alumni Association Award; Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from Queens University; and the Charlotte Ethics in Business Award for The Keith Corporation.

More than the business affiliations, memberships, honors, and awards, Graeme was first and foremost a family man. His legacy that will last longer than any of the accolades collected over the course of his lifetime are the shining stars in the trophy case of his heart: his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to whom he is more affectionately known as “Pop.” Today, each one carries the light of Graeme that will be passed down for generations. He lived and taught integrity, character, faithfulness, kindness, hard work, chivalry, friendship, love and forgiveness.

Graeme was a great friend. He saw into the heart of everyone he met, making them feel as if they were the only person in the world. He valued people, he valued their time, he valued their talent, and he sought to bring out the best in everyone. Whether picking up his dry cleaning or speaking to the President, Graeme treated everyone with respect and was an image-bearer of God.

Pop lived a full life. He was a blessed man, loved and admired by family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances alike. He now rests in peace having run the race well. No matter what challenges he faced, Pop knew God to be good and sovereign, working all things to the good of those called according to His purposes. So Pop pressed on to that blessed shore. He has been welcomed home safely to harbor in the arms of Jesus, rejoicing and singing with his beloved wife, Glo, and his dear friends who traveled before him. Pop has now heard the words of Jesus sweetly spoken, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

Those left behind do not grieve without hope. Pop placed his faith in the one and only Son of God, Jesus Christ, and one day we will once again be reunited with him in heaven. Pop believed that the Holy Bible was the inspired, divine, and inerrant word of God, and he believed what he read in the Bible to be the absolute truth. Pop believed that God created the world, man sinned, and God, in His great love and mercy, has spent the rest of human history pursuing His people, so much so that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die a sacrificial death on a cross, so that we might be restored and redeemed to a right relationship with Him. Pop knew Jesus as his Lord and Savior and he wanted others to know Him as well.

The family appreciates the attentive care given to Graeme by Hospice and Palliative Care of Charlotte Region. We are incredibly grateful for the devotion and countless hours of his caregivers Patti Johnson, Grace Martinez, Cammi Hayes, Jebolisa Ilukwe and Sergio Morales; for Diana Allen for her many years of devoted service as his assistant and friend; and for his friendships at The Cypress that gave him much joy and laughter.

He will be lovingly remembered by his three children: Graeme (Greg) McGregor Keith, Junior and his wife India Early Keith, Russell Dowd Keith, and Carey Ellen Keith Heberton and her husband Scott Ewing Heberton; eight grandchildren: Dowd Simpson and her husband Webb, Graeme Keith III and his wife Jennifer, Barrett Hughes and her husband Brock, Tanner Girdwood and her husband Thomas, Cody Keith, Ryan Keith, Locke Heberton and Ellie Heberton; and eleven great-grandchildren: James, Willow, Winnie, Mercy and Eden Simpson, Graeme McGregor Keith IV, Holmes (aka Lil’ Mack to Pop) and Baines Hughes, Maggie, Mays, and Bella Grace Girdwood.

We will celebrate the life of Graeme at Myers Park Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at 11 am. The family will receive friends following the service in Oxford Hall. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like memorial donations in honor of Graeme McGregor Keith sent to any of the following organizations: Samaritan’s Purse: mail to: Samaritan’s Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607 or online at; Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Library: mail to: BGEA Library, One Billy Graham Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28207; The Keith Family YMCA in Charlotte, NC: mail to: YMCA of Greater Charlotte, Attention: Keith Family YMCA, 400 East Morehead St., Charlotte, NC 28202. Condolences may be offered at As his precious wife penned, “One lives in the hope of becoming a memory.” Graeme McGregor Keith will remain a fond memory in the lives of those he loved for all of eternity.

Robert Sartin Sutton ’54

Robert Sartin Sutton, 90, of Davidson, NC, passed away on December 5, 2022. He was born on July 31, 1932, and grew up in Lexington, NC.

Bob graduated from Davidson College with a Bachelor of Science in history. After serving as a jet pilot in the United States Air Force, he completed postgraduate work in business and accounting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned his CPA license. Bob joined Peat, Marwick, Mitchell, & Co (now KPMG) in Charlotte, NC and was soon promoted to managing partner and tapped to open the Norfolk, VA office which continues to thrive today.

Bob was active in the community, providing leadership and support to both industry and the arts. He served as chairman of the board of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, where he was instrumental in uniting five separate chamber organizations. He served as President of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. After retiring from Peat Marwick in 1986, he returned to Davidson College, his Alma Mater, and served as Vice President for Business and Finance. During this time, Bob was involved in developing The McConnell residential neighborhood. In addition, he served on the board of the senior residential community, The Pines, and was a member of the Davidson College Presbyterian Church.

Bob spent his leisure time sailing, traveling abroad, and reading. After he retired in 1995 from Davidson College, he enjoyed playing golf with his wife Alice on the Harbor Town Golf Course where they resided. He cherished time spent with his children and grandchildren. He also enjoyed getting together with college friends.

Robert Sutton was preceded in death by his parents Euel Sutton and Clarice Sartin Sutton, his former wife Sally Wagner Sutton-Tucker, his sister Jerrell Ann Gibson, and stepson Scott Smith. He is survived by his wife Alice (Burchett Smith) of 27 years, daughter Amy Peters (Steve), son Rob Sutton (Stephanie), stepdaughter Leigh Ann Lemons (Richard), and grandchildren Sam Peters (Katherine), Jessica Peters, Vivian Lemons, and Joshua Lemons.

Bob’s family gathered from multiple states to celebrate his 90th birthday on July 31, 2022, at River Run Country Club in Davidson, NC. Bob reminisced with his family, recounting experiences from his lifetime.

Robert Lewis Beamer ’54

Dr. Robert Lewis Beamer, 89, of Columbia, passed away on Monday, November 28, 2022. He was born on June 9, 1933, in Pulaski, Virginia, to Harold Lee Beamer, Sr. and Mary Overton Smith Beamer.

Dr. Beamer became an Eagle Scout at the age of 16 and graduated from Pulaski High School in 1950. He entered Davidson College in September of 1950, majoring in Chemistry and Biology. After two years, he transferred to the School of Pharmacy at the Medical College of Virginia, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy in 1955 and became a Licensed Registered Pharmacist. He then entered the Graduate School at the Medical College of Virginia and earned a Master’s Degree in 1957, majoring in Chemistry. He obtained his PhD there in 1959, majoring in Organic Pharmaceutical Chemistry and minoring in Biochemistry and Physical Chemistry. His dissertation was on Asymmetric Hydrogenation Using Palladium Catalysts.

Dr. Beamer joined the faculty of the College of Pharmacy at the University of South Carolina in 1959. He became a full professor in 1967. He officially retired in 1998 as a Distinguished Professor Emeritus, after publishing more than 30 papers and a book. He continued to teach and research until he fully retired in 2006.

He was a dedicated member of Washington Street United Methodist Church, where he served as a Sunday school teacher, church historian, chairman of the administrative board and church council. He was a member of several professional organizations including the American Chemical Society and the American Pharmaceutical Association. He was active in many social and civic organizations, including Meals on Wheels, the Columbia Torch Club and the Columbia Capital Rotary Club.

Dr. Beamer was preceded in death by his loving wife of 63 years, Joan Fanning Beamer; his parents; sister, Elizabeth Beamer; and brother, Harold Beamer Jr. (Mary Frances). He is survived by his daughter, Janelle Elizabeth Beamer. He is also survived by nephews, Danny Fanning (Rhonda), Mark Beamer (Tracy), Hal Beamer (Kerri), Benjamin Beamer, and a host of loving cousins.

A graveside service for Dr. Beamer will be held at 11 o’clock on Saturday, December 3rd at Elmwood Cemetery, 501 Elmwood Avenue, Columbia, SC. The family will receive friends from 5 until 7 o’clock on Friday, December 2nd at Shives Funeral Home, Trenholm Road Chapel, 7600 Trenholm Road Ext., Columbia, SC. Memorials can be made to Washington Street United Methodist Church. Memories and condolences may be shared at

David Hagan Pfaff ’54

David Hagen Pfaff, 90, of Winston-Salem, died Saturday, October 29, 2022 at Salemtowne Retirement Community. He was born on October 28, 1932 in Forsyth County to the late Fred Wilson and Elizabeth Hagen Pfaff.

David graduated from Reynolds High School and later Davidson College. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and the Army Reserve, where he earned the rank of full bird colonel. During his time in the service, David lived at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, but in 1958, he moved back to Winston-Salem and started working at Pfaffs Glass. In 1963 he started Pfaffs Auto Glass, where he worked for 57 years, until he retired in 2020. He loved golf and spending time at his Beech Mountain home. David played the trumpet in the Easter band for over 75 years, was a member of the Kiwanis and the Salem Band.

He is survived by his children: Douglas Bryon Pfaff and Deborah Pfaff Faircloth, both of Winston-Salem, and Fredrick Wilson Pfaff (Shannon) of Canyon Lake, TX; grandchildren, Mary Kathleen Lanier (Joshua), Laura Ann Pfaff, Alanna Frances Pfaff (Christopher Tolley), William Hagen Faircloth (Shannon), Marilyn Jeanette Bell (Philip), Ashley Pfaff Winters (Daulton) and David Hagen Pfaff; great-grandchildren, Kennedy, Braely, Lawson, Ella, Avery, and Emma. He is also survived by his sister, Mary Jane Pfaff Dewees (John).

The funeral service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at Home Moravian Church with burial to follow in the Salem Moravian Graveyard. A reception will follow the burial in the Parlor at the Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Home Moravian Church, 529, S. Church St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101, the Moravian Music Foundation, 457 S. Church St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101, or the Alzheimer’s Association, Western Chapter, 4600 Park Rd., # 250, Charlotte, NC 28209. Condolences may be made online at

Homer C. Phifer Jr. ’54

Rev. Dr. Homer Craig Phifer, Jr. died on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022.

He was born in Hamlet, on Sept. 12, 1932, to the late Homer C. Phifer, Sr. and Elizabeth Dale Crowell Phifer. He grew up in Jacksonville, Fla. He graduated from Davidson College in 1954. Receiving a commission through the ROTC program at Davidson he served two years in the U.S. Army following graduation. After this service, he attended and graduated from Union Theological Seminary (now Union Presbyterian Seminary) in Richmond, Va., with a Masters of Divinity degree.

He was ordained in the Montpelier Presbyterian Church in Wagram, in 1959, by the former Fayetteville Presbytery. In addition to Montpelier, he served the Old Town Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem, the First Presbyterian Church in Thomasville, and the Arlington Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, Fla. While in Thomasville he earned his Doctorate of Ministry degree from Union Seminary.

In 1985 he became the executive presbyter and stated clerk of Shenandoah Presbytery with an office in Harrisonburg, Va. Upon his retirement in 1997, the Presbytery made him Executive Emeritus. That same year he and his wife Martha moved to Pinehurst.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Martha Nelson Phifer.

He is survived by his son Craig and his wife, Lynne, of Pinehurst; grandson, Nathan (wife Samantha); and great-grandsons, Watson and William; and grandson, Scott (wife Alexis); and great-granddaughters, Sophia and Farah.

A memorial service for the Rev. Phifer will be held on Friday, Oct. 28, at 2 p.m., at Community Presbyterian Church, in Pinehurst, with Rev. Rod Stone officiating.

The family is very grateful to the staff of Pinehurst Medical Clinic and Pinehurst Surgical Clinic, especially Dr. David Hipp and Dr. Joshua Sesek and their staff for the excellent care provided. Finally, to the staff at Aegis Family Care Home in Southern Pines and the many members and friends of Community Presbyterian Church who made Homer’s life so full and meaningful, eternal thanks for your care, concern and compassion.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts be made in memory of Rev. Phifer to Community Presbyterian Church, Montreat Youth Fund, P.O. Box 1449, Pinehurst, NC 28370.

Condolences may be made at

Services entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Pinehurst.