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NCI alumni remember: Keeble’s eulogy for ‘Sonny Boy’

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Church historians know a lot about Marshall Keeble, the dedicated evangelist thought to have baptized 30,000 souls into Christ.
Few know that he once performed a funeral for a parakeet.
Sonny Boy was the bird’s name. He belonged to one of Keeble’s great-granddaughters, Gwen Cummings. She loved the bird dearly. When he died, she insisted that his memory be honored.
Keeble obliged, gathering the family and speaking kind words of the bird’s loyalty before laying him to rest in the backyard.
They ate a meal after the service, and Keeble asked his great-granddaughter what she wanted to do next. She told him she wanted to go to her room and lie down for a bit (something she had seen grown-ups do after funerals).
Years later, Cummings was in the final graduating class of the Nashville Christian Institute in 1967. She attends the Jackson Street Church of Christ in Nashville, where her husband, Clinton, is an elder.
Remembering Keeble’s love for her — and her parakeet — she says, “He was truly the best granddad in the world.”

Filed under: National

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