Don Keener

Don Allen Keener

Tuesday, September 25th, 1956 - Thursday, December 5th, 2019
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Don Allen Keener, 63, of Destin, FL formerly of Highlands, N.C. went to be with the Lord on Thursday, December 5, 2019. He was born September 25, 1956 in Sylva, N.C., to the late John H. and Hester Hedden Keener.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Keener, his three daughters, Brandy Highsmith and husband, Omar Highsmith, Kalee Renee Keener, Paige Marion Keener and two grandsons, Knight and Simeon Highsmith all of Destin, FL. Don was preceded in death by his father, John H. Keener and his mother Hester Hedden Keener; a brother Terry Dean Keener; and a sister Renee Gwen Treyvig.

Don’s passion for life was contagious and he enjoyed spending his time with family and friends. He loved dancing with Nancy, and watching his daughters compete in Equestrian competition, he enjoyed riding motorcycles with his friends, and loved collecting classic Ford cars.

Don was an accomplished man and received many awards for outstanding achievements during his life. He graduated high school as valedictorian. Following his graduation in 1974, Don had the prestigious accomplishment of being accepted into the Air Force Academy. Don graduated with honors from the Air Force Academy and flew as a fighter/tank pilot from 1978 to 1982. During Don’s service in the Air Force he achieved the rank of Captain and received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Training Ribbon, Air Force Training Longevity Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and National Defense Service Medal. Following Don’s military service, he moved to Destin, FL and started his career flying for the commercial airlines. He flew for Northwest and Delta Airlines from August 1985 to December 2019, where he was flying international routes as a Captain. In addition to his flying career, Don was an accomplished custom builder in Destin.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Yellow Mountain Baptist Church with Carl Stepp officiating. Burial will be in Stewart Cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 10:00 to 11:00 Saturday, one hour prior to the service at the Church. Flowers may be sent to Macon Funeral Home, Franklin, N.C.

Pallbearers will be Paul Schmitt, Taylor Schmitt, Bruce Belser, Toby Theodore, Ted Love and Jon Shelton. Honorary Pallbearers will be Greg Floyd and Jim Moody.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Stewart Cemetery Fund, C/O Carl Stewart, 3295 Yellow Mountain Road, Cullowhee, NC 28723.

Macon Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Condolences can be made to the family at

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  • Visitation

    Saturday, December 14th, 2019 | 10:00am - 11:00am
    Saturday, December 14th, 2019 10:00am - 11:00am
    Yellow Mountain Baptist Church
    34 Mill Creek Road
    Cullowhee, NC 28723
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday, December 14th, 2019 | 11:00am
    Saturday, December 14th, 2019 11:00am
    Yellow Mountain Baptist Church
    34 Mill Creek Road
    Cullowhee, NC 28723
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Saturday, December 14th, 2019 |
    Saturday, December 14th, 2019
    Stewart Cemetery
    383 Stewart Cemetery Road
    CULLOWHEE, NC 28723
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Brian Scott

Posted at 03:10pm
I have just learned of Don’s passing through the “Gone but not forgotten” notification by USAFA. Don and I were friends and classmates at USAFA, and went through pilot training together. Later we both worked for Northwest and Delta Airlines. We spent many hours talking about life in general on layovers in Narita. As others have mentioned I was always impressed with Don’s knowledge of a multitude of things, and often asked him questions about home building and renovation. I know he will be sorely missed. Brian Scott

Joe Fowler

Posted at 07:35pm
Don was my OE instructor when I was a new 727 SO at NWA. He had a great demeanor and was a wonderful instructor. I later flew with him on the 747/400 and will always have fond memories of our times together.
Joe Fowler

Tracy King

Posted at 06:12pm
Don you will be missed by all of your airline crews, and Destin local friends. I had the pleasure of flying and commuting to and from home from far away lands. We also worked together on a house plan many years ago. You’re talents and accomplishments will not be forgotten. May you Rest In Peace forever more.

Scott Wood

Posted at 01:37pm
I am a Delta and former Northwest Orient flight attendant. I flew with Don many times over the years and always enjoyed it. He was a good man and always kind to everyone. He will be missed. A toast, my friend.
Scott Wood

Roger Marshall

Posted at 01:01pm
Dear Keener Family,

My name is Roger Marshall and I was a friend of Don for many years. I flew with Don many many times over the years and he loved to speak of his family. My most heartfelt condolences to you all. He was a great pilot and I enjoyed flying with him!
Roger Marshall NWA/Delta pilot

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