Multitudes Pay Respects to Keith Harrold
Fri., Aug. 24. 2018 10:25am EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Last week, I reported that our good friend and former ApologetiX drummer Keith Harrold had died unexpectedly at the age of 62. We learned later that it was caused by a heart attack. We were totally unprepared for such a tragedy, but we were also totally unprepared for what happened afterward.
My wife and I made plans in advance to meet ApX bassist Keith Haynie and his family at the funeral home in Greensburg PA for the Sunday afternoon visitation. When we arrived, the lot was already full and the side streets were crowed with cars.
Former ApX members Fred Behanna and Karl Messner each also arrived at about the same time, so we were all in line together. That line stretched out into the parking lot! There were so many people there to pay their respects that it took 1.5 hours until we were able to speak to Keith Harrold's wife and kids.
"I lost my buddy," Linda said to me, as I gave her a hug. Keith Harrold was everybody's buddy, but none more so than his beloved wife. They'd been happily married for so many years. If I recall correctly from my conversations with Keith, they met in high school. Their three children are all adults, and they have one grandson.
The first viewing was supposed to be from 2-4 p.m., but the line was still going at 5:15 p.m. They had closed the outside door at 4 p.m., like they do at the bank when closes at 4 p.m. but still has to finish with people who are already inside. The funeral home had never seen anything like it.
Jimmy and Eve Tanner went to the evening viewing, and they said they *only* had to wait 45 minutes! What an outpouring of love and respect for our friend Keith Harrold!
The Haynie family and I attended the funeral on Monday at Word of Life Ministries in Greensburg PA. Six family members and friends gave eulogies, and each was tremendously touching. Then they announced that somebody was going to come up and sing. It was Amy Grant! We couldn't believe it.
While playing acoustic guitar, Amy sang "Somewhere Down the Road" and "Thy Word." Her pianist was also in attendance and accompanied her. She introduced the songs by saying, "Keith was a sales representative for Word Records for 25 years, so his family inherited me."
I was aware that Keith knew her (and many other famous people in Christian music). Over the years, I'd asked him more than once who was the nicest and most sincere person he'd ever met in Christian music, and he always said Amy. She came to the cemetery for the burial, too.
Linda told me she'd found out last Friday that Amy would be coming and that Amy thanked her after the service for letting her be a part of things. I said, "Keith always told me how sincere she was," and Linda said, "Yes, she's the real deal."
Keith's pastor, Pastor Frank Audio of CityReach Church Westmoreland, gave a phenomenal message -- very funny (because Keith loved humor) and very heartfelt (because Pastor Frank knew Keith very well). There was no drop-off after Amy finished and he took over. He gave an every-eye-open invitation at the end, and a number of people raised their hands to receive Christ.
Everybody loved Keith. Very funny, very friendly, and very knowledgable about all kinds of music. Always joking and kidding around. One of the eulogizers said they complained to Keith once about using the same jokes over and over, and Keith said, "You don't need to keep finding new jokes; you just need to keep finding new audiences."
In fact, as I was answering a condolences email from one of our fans, I typed "thanks for your sympathy," and I remembered how Keith used to say that line as a joke when I'd pay him a compliment about something. So, thank you all for your sympathy. I can't think of a better send-off for Keith. I only wish it hadn't been so soon.