Alma Mae Keys, 1931–2023

On Wednesday, April 5, 2023 our loving blue-eyed mother, grandmother, great-grandmother went to be with Jesus. Alma was born on Oct. 4, 1931 in Missouri to Carter and Vernice Stockton. Growing up Alma loved dancing in the backyard with her sister, Virginia, while her mother played the piano and her father strung the strings on his guitar or violin. 

Alma Mae Keys

When Alma was 6 years old, they moved to Exeter, Calif. 

Alma was a pom pom girl in high school when she met the handsome Marshall Keys. Their friendship began in high school, after two years it blossomed to a great love, and they married on June 12, 1949 in Reno, Nev. Together they established their first home in Exeter. Three years later, Marshall was promoted and they moved to Tulare, Calif. Marshall’s job required them to move around the Central Valley over the years, but upon retirement, they made their forever home in Exeter, Calif.

In 1951 they were blessed with a son, James “Kirk” Keys and in 1954 a second son, Mark Douglass Keys. When Alma’s eldest son was 16 years-old, she went to work as a beautician. That didn’t last long because “the little old ladies were too fussy.” Even though Alma had a beautician’s license and a designer’s license, she went to work for Nickel’s Payless, where she enjoyed her customers for 20 years and retired at the age of 62.

Alma was an immaculate house keeper, an excellent cook, known for her homemade pies, and her piercing blue eyes reminding you of the beautiful Elizabeth Taylor. She loved projects. She could take an old piece of furniture and turn it into a treasure. One time when she lived in Visalia, Marshall came home from work to find that she had torn boards off the front of the house and removed a half wall inside the house. This required Marshall to call a contractor and replace the carpet in the entire house. Alma giggled at Marshall’s frustration and said “his punishment is me staying with him.” 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Carter and Vernice Stockton, her sons, James “Kirk” Keys and Mark Douglass Keys. 

Alma is survived by her husband Marshall Keys of 73 years, her granddaughters Julie Sayre, McKenna Keys Idlewyld, Elyssa Keys and her great-grandchildren Nathan Vidusic and Emily Vidusic.

Her spunky fun-loving humor will be greatly missed by her friends and family. We look forward to the day when we can all be together again in the presence of the Lord. For direct condolences to the family, please visit Alma’s legacy page at

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