October 15, 1952 ~ November 29, 2019

Born in: Tryon, NC
Resided in: Mars Hill, NC

Howard Keith Gilbert, 67, went to his heavenly home on Friday, November 29, 2019. He was born October 15, 1952 in Tryon, NC to the late Grayson Otho Gilbert and Grace Burnette Gilbert.

In addition to his mother he is survived by wife Grace Skees Gilbert; daughter and son-in-law Aubrey and Terry Barnard; stepson Chris Skees and fiancé Alyson Wilson; grandchildren Syrenaty Owens, Leeyha Wilson and Zye Skees; brothers and sisters-in-law, Curtis and Sandy Gilbert, Clyde and Polly Gilbert and Treavis and Lyn Gilbert; and many nieces and nephews.

Keith was a 1970 graduate of TC Roberson High School, a welder, a brick mason and a veteran of the US Army where he served in the 82nd Airborne Division. He continued to be a hard-working handyman after his retirement.

A Funeral Service with military honors will be held at 10:00 AM on Friday, December 6, 2019 in the chapel of the WNC State Veteran’s Cemetery, Black Mountain. Family and friends will be received from 6 to 7 PM on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at Groce Funeral Home on Tunnel Road.

In lieu of flowers please consider donations either to ABCCM Veteran’s Restoration Quarters or St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Groce Funeral Home on Tunnel Road is assisting the family.


Funeral Service: December 6, 2019 10:00 am

Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery Chapel
962 Old US Hwy 70
Black Mountain, NC 28711


Visitation: December 5, 2019 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Groce Funeral Home on Tunnel Road
856 Tunnel Rd.
Asheville, NC 28805


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  1. Keith will truly be missed by his friends at Fiddlestix in Mars Hill. He was truly one of the hardest working men I’ve ever known and we have been so blessed by his friendship. We will miss him dreadfully 💔. Linda Fisher Scoggin

  2. You had to leave way too soon, and ever since my heart feels it will explode from pain. I miss you, and will miss you every day forever. Heaven couldnt wait to welcome you with tears of joy. I know you are now looking up each and every one of your lost loved ones and old buddies. I, one day will eagerly look you up, until then I must give you my absolute reluctant good bye, my rock, my anchor, my superhero, my true love. Your forever loving wife.

  3. Keith was a wonderful neighbor. When my husband broke his leg in April, he came down to see him several times and offered his help if we needed it. He will be missed. May God comfort you and give you peace.

  4. I have fond memories of my Uncle Keith. He was my daddy’s tall, intimidating looking, handsome older brother. He had a kind heart and I loved that about him. It has been a while since I last saw him. I am very sad I won’t get to see or talk to him again. I will miss you Uncle Keith. Love always your niece Tara

  5. Keith was the brother I never had he was my best friend when we were young sometimes good sometimes bad if one of us had a dollar the other one did to RIP buddy

  6. Keith was a loyal friend and tireless worker who came to my aide countless times. He was kind and had a “always willing to help a friend” attitude. There were many in and around Mars Hill whose lives were made easier by his unwavering dedication to friends and hardwork. I am deeply blessed to have been one of them. He is simply irreplaceable and is deeply missed. May he rest now and may his family find comfort and peace.

  7. I’m saddened today as I learned the news of Keith’s unexpected death. I am currently traveling and although I cannot attend to honor him and his family, I wish you all to know of my love and thoughts. I pray for your family and that you are able to remember the blessed times you had together and never let Keith’s memory fade. I wish you all the very best. Love, Carroll Burnette

  8. Dear Clyde & family, we are sorry for your family right now having to feel this saddness & loss.
    Praying for our God to comfort you all. Hold fast to your memories…. love you Starr & Jack

  9. Sad that the miles kept me from really knowing my cousin Keith. I believe he is at peace with our Lord and catching up with friends and family that passed earlier. I can picture the joy and laughter of my Uncle Otho and Grandmother Gilbert. My love and prayers will be with you, Aunt Grace, and the rest of Keith’s family. Keith, “go rest high on that mountain.” Love to all, Cousin Barbara from Illinois.

  10. Hey Keith !

    As a military veteran also,
    US Navy instead of US Army;

    Now i’ll meet you later on,
    In that place where you are gone,
    Where God’s Judgement is Always Fair:
    Mercy on Everyone.

    You’ll be oiling a sqeaky hinge
    Repainting Heaven’s Gate,
    As i discuss with Socrates
    How Fitting is Our Fate.

    In my situation you would say:

    Clear Skies and Smooth Seas,
    Full steam ahead into Sunset.

    So I say:

    Old Soldiers never die,
    They just Fade Away.


  11. My prayers go out to the family at the loss of Keith. Although we were not close – I remember Uncle Otho, Aunt Grace and all the boys coming to visit in IL. I am sure that his dad, uncles and friends were there to greet him on his journey home to be with the Lord. Aunt Grace and family….you will be in my prayers as you navigate this grief of losing the one you love. May God provide all comfort and peace.
    Mary (Johnston) Haag

  12. Keith, my Comrade, my Brother and my dear Friend; you will truly be missed. You don’t know how much my wife and I enjoyed talking and spending time with you. You was one of my best soldiers and friend. I am going to miss our two hour phone conversations each time we talked and our trips to Cherokee. I look forward to seeing you again, in heaven. Love you my Brother. Rest in Peace.


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