Ernest Deurell Key, Jr of Atlanta, died on July 11, 2019 surrounded by his family. He was born July 30, 1929 in Atlanta.
He was proceeded in death by his parents Ernest Deurell Key, Sr. and Marie Morgan Key; his sisters, Merry Key Ellington and Ruby Key Nunnally; and brother-in-law, James Daniel Ellington. He is survived by his wife, Teresa Maney Key; four daughters, Vera Key Wile (Edward), Margaret Key Cone (Karl), Merry Jeanne Key Millner (Thomas), and Elizabeth Key Reid (James); six grandchildren, Laura Wellon (Rob), Chip Wile (Catherine), Marcus Cone, Chase Cone, Garnett Reid and Isabelle Reid; seven great-grandchildren, Parks Wellon, Tyler Wellon, Porter Wellon, Carson Wellon, Woodson Wile, Rigsby Wile, Jane Alyce Wile; nieces, Morgan Ellington and Jane Ellington; and his beloved Briard “London.”
Upon graduation from Marion Military Institute in Marion, Ala., he joined the United States Air Force during the Korean Conflict. Upon completion of his service to our Country, he returned to Atlanta and to the family business. He ran the Monticello Bobbin Mill in Monticello, Ga., where he served as Mayor for two terms. For the next fifty years, he ran the Atlanta Belting Company. During his tenure leading the company, he formed the Tennessee Belting Company, Florida Belting Company, Piedmont Belting Company. Ernest acquired and ultimately sold Allied Plastics Company.
In addition to raising a family and building a business in Atlanta, Ernest took his community responsibilities seriously. Among those highlights was the selection to be a delegate for the Georgia Republican Party at the 1964 Presidential Convention in San Francisco. He served as chairman of the Board of Marion Military Institute, the oldest military junior college in the country. He was past chairman of the Georgia Commission for the Celebration of the Nations Bicentennial. He was a lifelong member of the Jasper County Masonic Lodge, Decatur Rotary Club where he served as president, the Piedmont Driving Club, and The Capital City Club.
Following his retirement, he volunteered with his wife at the Tour Championship at East Lake, the Atlanta Olympics, and served as a docent and Train Engineer at the Atlanta Zoo. He was also a member of the Briard Club of America, The Barons of the Magna Carta, The Plantagenet Society, the Sons of the American Revolution, and an honorary member of Piedmont Camp at the Bohemian Club in San Francisco. But his greatest joy was his wife and his beautiful family whom he adored. Watching his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow, prosper, and thrive gave him the most immense joy. He reveled in telling the grand and great-grandchildren stories of his many adventures as he and Teresa traveled for the last twenty-eight years. As his children often proudly professed, “Poppy never said no to an adventure.”
For those he leaves behind, he will always be remembered as a true original in every sense; a Southern Gentleman, the greatest storyteller we will ever know, and a lover of this great country. Ernest was deeply loyal to his friends, passionate about his family, and humbled by his God.
Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 13, 2019 at Westview Cemetery, 1680 Westview Dr. SW, Atlanta, Ga. 30310. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in the memory of Ernest D. Key, Jr. to MUST Ministries P.O. Box 1717 Marietta, Ga. 30061, www.mustministries.org or Zoo Atlanta, 800 Cherokee Ave. Atlanta, Ga. 30315, www.zooatlanta.org or Marion Military Institute 1101 Washington St Marion, Ala. 36756, www.marionmilitary.edu/venue/mmi.
Mowell Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Fayetteville – www.mowells.com.