Press "Enter" to skip to content


Susan Shaw Keffer of Mathews, Va., left this life at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester, Va.

She was preceded in death by her husbands, James E. Benton (Lt. JG-ret.) of Portsmouth, Va., Clarence M. Speight (Commander-ret.) of Cobbs Creek, Va., and Percy R. Keffer Jr. (served in USCG) of Cobbs Creek, Va. Mrs. Keffer was a loyal Coast Guard wife for each of her husbands.

Mrs. Keffer is survived by her sister, Mrs. Jane Shaw Kolkhorst of Falmouth, Maine, and her half-sister, Dr. Kay F.S. Browne of Mill Valley, Cal. She is also survived by her three daughters, Susan B. Yearby of Portsmouth, Va., Cynthia B. Howell of Raleigh, N.C., and Diane B. Snellinger (Steve) of Suffolk, Va.

She is also survived by seven grandchildren, Amy E. Gordy and Vickie L. Megahed of Portsmouth, Va., Susan M. White (Mike) of Chesapeake, Va., Heather H. Essary (Jason) of Seminary, Miss., Richard T. Howell Jr. of Denver, Colo., Dr. Jennifer S. Goodrich (Brian) of Frederick, Md., and Franklin E. Brown (Karin) of Chesapeake, Va., and seven great-grandchildren, Meghan and C.J. White of Chesapeake, Va., Taylor and Ashlynn Goodrich of Frederick, Md., Tara, Anna and Erika Nicholas of Seminary, Miss.

Mrs. Keffer was born on July 19, 1920 in Jersey City, N.J., and was the daughter of Harold D.V. and Helen MacKay Shaw. She attended Connecticut College for Women graduating with her B.A. degree. She received her M.A. degree from the College of William and Mary.

Known in Portsmouth as Sue Benton, she taught in the Norfolk County Public School System at Simonsdale Elementary School and Churchland Junior High School. She also taught in the Chesapeake Public School System, from which she retired as head of the Guidance Department at Western Branch High School in 1970.

Mrs. Keffer was a charter member of St. Andrew’s Methodist Church and St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, both located in Portsmouth. She was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church from 1965-1970 when with her marriage they moved to Cobbs Creek. She then joined Kingston Parish Episcopal Church where she remained a member until her death.

Mrs. Keffer will be greatly missed by her family and friends. Her wisdom and love of learning has lived on with each generation of her family. She loved travel, music, theater, reading, boating, oysters and, most of all, the view she had of the birds, the boats and the river from her home.

Her family would like to thank her loyal, devoted and loving caregivers: Cindy, Jonnie, Helena, Heather, Rindy and Macie.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the church or charity of your choice.

A memorial service celebrating the life of Susan Shaw Keffer will be held on Sunday, May 26, 2013, at 2 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, Kingston Parish, with a reception to follow at the Kingston Parish House, Mathews, Va.

Foster-Faulkner Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Mathews, is in charge of the arrangements.