George McKeown, 76, of Pine Bluff, died at home Friday, August 23, 2013. George will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather, teacher, friend and golfer. He was the type of man who put his family first. At times, that meant working on weekends to provide for them, and other times spending his Sunday morning at church with his wife or telling stories to his grandchildren while fishing in the backyard.
Born in Clarksburg, West Virginia April 10, 1937, the son of the late George Arthur and Virginia Long McKeown, George grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, receiving his early education there.
He joined the United States Air Force, serving for three years in the US and Japan. He became an assistant golf professional at Rivercrest Country Club in Fort Worth in 1957 and played on the PGA Tour periodically until 1976.
In 1963, George became head golf professional at Pine Bluff (AR) Country Club and retired from that position December 31, 1999. He has served as Golf Professional Emeritus at PBCC since that time. He was recently honored at PBCC in a dedication ceremony of a plaque bearing his image near the No. 13 teebox, where friends and family described him as an incredible family man and teacher who encouraged his children, grandchildren and students to excel on and off the golf course.
During his distinguished golf career as a player and a teacher, he won numerous Arkansas PGA Chapter and South Central Section PGA tournaments and taught seven state amateur champions at PBCC who have won more than 15 Arkansas amateur titles to date. He qualified and played in the 1969 PGA as a club professional, played in the 1990 and 1992 Senior PGA championships and the 1992 U.S. Senior Open. But two of his most important career wins were two ASGA Father & Son Championships, one with each son. He became a life member of the PGA of America in 2000 and was enshrined in the Arkansas Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2002. He came out of retirement to coach the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff golf teams before retiring again.
An avid bridge player, George earned designation as Life Master from the American Contract Bridge League. He loved to hunt and fish and spent many happy hours with his friends hunting, playing and teaching golf, and playing bridge. Not always a man of many words, when George spoke, people listened – whether it was to learn or to laugh.
George’s survivors include his wife, Josephine “Jo” Pedroza McKeown, who he married June 16, 1963 in Hot Springs; two sons, George William “Gordy” McKeown, Jr. (Lisa) of San Antonio, Texas, Michael Wyatt McKeown (Shelby) of Conway, Ark.; daughter, Juliana “Julie” Enderlin (Paul) of Little Rock; brother, Jim Gilmore of McKinney, Texas; sisters, Sharon Bice of Sylmar, Calif., Jean Pierce of Dallas, Texas, Nancy Kay of Lavon, Texas, Carolyn Williams of Goliad, Texas; and eight grandchildren, Meagan McKeown, Kelsey McKeown, Jason McKeown, Hannah McKeown, Jessica Enderlin, Paul Jay Enderlin, Joseph Enderlin, and William McKeown.
Services are Tuesday, August 27, at 2:00 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Committal services are Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. at Arkansas State Veteran’s Cemetery in North Little Rock. Visitation is Monday from 5-7 p.m. at Ralph Robinson & Son. Memorials are requested to Neighbor to Neighbor, 1419 Pine Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71601. Online register: www.ralphrobinsonandson.com.