Joanna Doughman Keith, a wife, mother, artist, and lifelong Virginian, died peacefully at her ancestral home, Keithcliff, in Roanoke County on Sunday, September 4, 2022.
Joanna, who was born on January 21, 1941, in Roanoke, Va., received her undergraduate degree in Art History at The College William and Mary, where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. Joanna considered herself a lifetime student and pursued her artistic studies locally at Roanoke College and as far afield as Carrara and Florence, Italy, where she learned marble sculpting from world-renowned experts. She cast bronzes in her father’s foundry and continued to paint and sculpt at her home studio throughout her life. Her work conveys a precise, but moving, understanding of the human form, and a deep appreciation for the beauty of the natural world. Joanna was always recognized as a beautiful and elegant woman who exemplified the charm and grace of a Southern lady. Her other career endeavors included a stint modeling in New York City, as well several years of working as a make-up artist at a funeral home following her younger daughter Dawn’s passing, an experience that was memorably chronicled by her other daughter, Dana, in a “Lives” column in the New York Times Magazine.
In addition to her artistic and professional achievements, Joanna was an avid and a firm proponent of the value of cultural exchange. She enjoyed the adventurous side of travel, visiting exotic countries such as Communist China during the 1970s, and she also brought the world to Virginia by hosting numerous students at her home outside Richmond through the American Field Service. Former guests continued to stay in contact with her for years after their initial stay, traveling across oceans to visit her again.
Despite Joanna’s exciting and glamorous life, she would be the first to tell you that her proudest achievements were as a daughter, mother, and grandmother. Descended from among the earliest Jamestown settlers, Scottish Jacobites, and a cousin to President Thomas Jefferson and General Robert E. Lee, Joanna grew up on land that had been in her family for two centuries. She was the only child of Joseph Cline Keith and Eva Jayne Keith (nee Doughman). Her father was a prominent local industrialist whose company, White Foundry, manufactured historical highway plaques for the Commonwealth of Virginia, components for United States Navy warships, and pieces for the Washington Monument and White House. Her mother was a devoted housewife and mother who was active in the local community. Although she traveled far and wide, Joanna’s heart will always be in the Virginia mountains of her birth.
Joanna is survived by her beloved grandson, Luke Tierney, a businessman in Gloucester, Va.; cousins, Paul and Betsy Keith of Winston-Salem, N.C.; cousins, Dan and Nora Kowalcheck of Winston-Salem, N.C.; cousin, Leslie Florestano of Annappolis, Md.; cousin, Pat Florestano of Annapolis, M.D.; cousin, Melanie Franklin of Roanoke, Va.; cousin, Stephen Franklin of Christiansburg, Va.; cousin, Julie Birch of Roanoke, Va.; cousins, Steve and Barbara Krisco of Roanoke, Va.; step-daughter Elizabeth Radford Barfield of Roanoke, Va.; and dear friend of 67 years, Enid Renee Masinter of Florence, Italy. Joanna was preceded in death by her beloved daughters, Dawn and Dana, whom she had by her husband of eight years, L.A. Boyd of Gloucester, Va. She was also preceded in death by her former husbands, Arnold Lee Radford and Richard Grossclose.
A wake took place on Tuesday, September 6, 2022, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home in Salem, Va. The funeral service will be conducted on Wednesday, September 7, 2022, at 10 a.m. in the funeral home’s chapel. Burial will immediately follow at St. Andrew’s Diocesan Cemetery in Roanoke, Va.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.johnmoakey.com.