Patricia Banks Keener was born on August 1, 1958, in Ashdown, Arkansas. She was the youngest of three girls born to the parentage of Artis Lee and Willie Fred Banks. Patricia traveled to Maywood, Illinois at six weeks old to join the rest of the family. She lived in Maywood until 1972 when her mom decided to move the three girls to Ogden, AR where they would reside to take care of their grandmother whose health was quickly deteriorating. It was a devastating move, but the girls survived. The girls were often referred to as The Three Musketeers by their late grandfather, Leon Banks.
Patricia joined and was baptized at First Baptist Church in Melrose Park, IL at an early age. She was active in the Red Circle Girls’ Activity Club. Upon her move to Ogden, she attended Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. Several years later, Patricia became a member of Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Rev. O.V. Birmingham. She was active in the children’s ministry, the deaconess board, and the Young Women’s Auxiliary. Changing church membership was not an easy fete for Patricia. After the 9/11 assault on the US and much prayer, she became a member of St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church in Foreman, AR. She remained a loyal and faithful member there until December 2021 when her husband retired from full-time ministry. Her most recent church membership is at the Lonoke Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Arthur Hill. Much to her dismay, Patricia was only afforded the opportunity to attend in-person service twice at Lonoke due to her deteriorating health. Even though she could not be present physically at the in-person services, she did her best to attend virtual services each week. She was so excited about being active at a nearby church, yet her health nor the pandemic would allow her to do so.
Patricia graduated from Ashdown High School in 1976. Upon graduation, she attended Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, where she received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Patricia did some graduate work at Southern Arkansas University and East Texas State University.
While at Henderson, Patricia was initiated as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. on November 1, 1978. Years later, she became a member of the local graduate chapter, Kappa Xi Omega, where she was a highly active member. In the past, she has served as a recording secretary, corresponding secretary, membership chairman, dance committee member, newsletter editor, brunch committee member, retreat committee member, leadership committee member, and scholarship committee member and served in many other areas as needed. She was a former Soror of the Year, a Life Member and most recently was awarded the Heart and Soul of Kappa Xi Omega Award by President Lekia Jones.
Throughout high school and college, Patricia dated a guy named Ronnie Keener who could not live without her. He approached her sister Marilyn about this girl he was interested in dating. Marilyn, having the type of personality that she has, encouraged him to go after her, not knowing it was her baby sister he was interested in pursuing. Needless to say, he put his moves (they were pretty slow) into action. Patricia always had the highest standards and morals and was not easy to pursue! They dated throughout high school and college and were joined in holy matrimony on August 25, 1979. Patricia gave birth to their one and only child, Ashley, in 1984. Ashley was the apple of her mom’s eye! Patricia helped Ashley to exceed her as an expert shopper! In recent years, they talked to each other on the phone several times each day. Before she retired, Patricia and Ashley talked to each other every morning on her way to work. They also ended each day with a phone call. Patricia always held a special place for Roy in her heart because he never once complained.
Thinking that Ashley was their greatest blessing blurred just a little when Peyton came along! Then, nine years later, the twins arrived. Life only got better from there!
Patricia’s teaching career began in Arkadelphia as a first-grade teacher. Upon completion of her 1st year of teaching, Patricia and Ronnie decided to move to Texarkana which became their permanent home. Patricia taught 6th grade in Ashdown for fifteen years. She spent the next twenty-three years as a teacher and Instructional Facilitator in the Texarkana Arkansas School District. Her best years in TASD were spent at College Hill Middle School and Washington Academy Charter School. She became a world traveler while at CHMS thanks to Dr. Robin Hickerson. Whether she was in the DC area, Little Rock, Hot Springs, Atlanta, GA, Vegas, or Hollywood, she always attended the meetings associated with the conference she was attending. Once the conference was over for the day, sightseeing and good times were on deck! It did not matter if an administrator had accompanied her on the trip or not, she was going to take care of the business at hand first.
While in Washington, she was part of one big, happy family! Terry Taylor, Joyce Wilson, Vanessa Wakefield, Jimmy Gamble, Tina Wheat, Kenneth Reid, Colete Reid, Vincent Nelson, and Billy Jones were just a few of her extended family members. Others came and left over the years. Many others made each day enjoyable!
Patricia had big retirement plans! She and Ronnie were going to buy a new and bigger home and travel once Ronnie retired. It didn’t take her long to realize that our plans are not necessarily God’s plans. She was satisfied knowing that a new home over in Glory awaited her arrival!
If she ever doubted Ronnie’s love for her, it was proven that he was truly her soulmate! He became the best caregiver that she ever could have hoped for. He left for work one Monday morning in December 2021 and returned home about the time she awakened that day. He had decided that he was going to leave work, full-time, to devote time to her. He never worked another full day and became officially retired on July 8, 2022. H decided that he needed to be a full-time caregiver and was determined to be there for Patricia whenever she needed him. Even though she was diagnosed with the cruelest disease known to mankind, ALS, she was allowed to mend any relationship that needed mending. For that, she was extremely grateful. Patricia and Ronnie traveled several times to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to visit the ALS Clinic where she was a patient. He was determined to provide her with the best medical care possible.
Patricia transitioned from this life on November 2, 2022. She was preceded in death by her mother, Willie F. Banks, oldest sister, Sharon Williams, maternal grandmother, Willie Bell Brown, maternal grandfather, Fred Biddix, and paternal grandparents, Leon and Equillia Banks.
She leaves to cherish her memories: Her loving and devoted husband, Rev. Ronnie “Shoebox” Keener of Texarkana, AR; her loving and devoted daughter, Ashley Keener-Wesley and husband Rev. Roy L. Wesley, Jr. of Arkadelphia, AR; her loving father, Artis L. Banks of Texarkana, AR. A loving and devoted sister, Marilyn Banks Webb of Texarkana, AR; the 3 Apples of her eyes, Peyton Wesley, Connor Wesley, and Chandler Wesley all of Arkadelphia, AR; a special aunt and uncle, Erma and Willis Burnett of El Cerrito, CA; aunt, Bettye J. Biddix of Ashdown, AR; special nieces, Tonya (To’Neal) Thurston of Texarkana, AR, Natalie Williams of Texarkana, AR, (Daughters of late sister, Sharon Williams); special nephews, Chadwick (Cassandra) Williams of Searcy, AR (son of late sister, Sharon Williams), Christopher (Kimberly) Webb, of Colleyville, TX (son of sister, Marilyn Webb); brothers-in-law, Royce (Patsy) Keener of Ashdown, AR, Mathew (Virginia) Keener III of Douglasville, TX, and Herschel Keener of Texarkana, AR; sisters-in-law, Melinda (Roger) Simon of Texarkana, TX, Maleffia (Anthony) Aubrey of Texarkana, AR, Lucy Keener of Shreveport, LA, and Sandra Keener of Ashdown, AR. A host of nieces, nephews, and cousins; special friends, Peggy James, Lynette Smith, Brenda Kelley, Jackie Wiseman, Vanessa Wakefield, and Joyce Wilson.
Visitation will be Friday, November 11, at 6 p.m. at Church of the Living God, 928 Laurel Street, Texarkana, AR 71854. The Ivy Beyond the Wall will begin at 7:08 p.m. Homegoing Celebration will be Saturday, November 12, at 1 p.m. at Lonoke Baptist Church, 1841 Lonoke Ave, Texarkana, AR 71854 with Rev. Arthur Hill, officiating and Bishop T. L. Taylor, eulogist. The interment will be at Chapelwood Memorial Gardens.
Floral deliveries may be sent to the Church of the Living God on Friday, November 11, from noon until 4 p.m.
Memorials may be made in memory of Patricia A. Keener to ALS Association-Arkansas Chapter1200 W. Walnut Suite 2406-08, Rogers, AR 72756 or online at https://donate.als.org/fundraiser/4262373
Floral escorts will be Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. KAPPA XI OMEGA CHAPTER MEMBERS. Lonoke Baptist Church Deaconess
Active pallbearers will be Ronnie Kelley, J.T. Leeper, Leroy James, Lynn Morgan, Lyndon Morgan and Brian Green. Honorable to mention are Peyton Wesley, Connor Wesley, Chandler Wesley, Roy L. Wesley, Jr., Christopher Webb, To’Neal Thurston, Chad Williams, Cameron Abner, Cole Abner and Marcus Webb.