Aug. 22, 1922-Feb. 7, 2020

Services for Mary Elizabeth Poleman Keyser will be at 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 14 at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception with her cousin, Fr. John Hill Cunningham, and Fr. Stephen Scott Chemino officiating.  Entombment will be in the Catholic Cemetery Mausoleum in Natchitoches. Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13 with a rosary at 7 p.m. at Blanchard – St. Denis Funeral Home.

Mrs. Keyser, 97, was born Aug. 22, 1922, and died peacefully, surrounded by family, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, at Christus Highland Medical Center, Shreveport. A Natchitoches native, Mary actively served her church, family and her community throughout her lifetime.

She graduated from St. Mary’s Academy, then obtained a Registered Nurses Degree from T.E. Schumpert Memorial Hospital in Shreveport. Upon graduation, she served in the Army Medical Corp.  Afterwards, Mary returned to her hometown and worked at the old Natchitoches Hospital on Washington Street, then at the new hospital, when it opened, on Keyser Avenue. After she left the hospital, she worked at several doctor offices, prior to her ultimate career move to the Natchitoches Parish Health Unit, under the direction of Dr. W.W. Knipmeyer, on Fifth Street, from which she retired after 23 years. In total, Mrs. Keyser practiced her profession for 37 years. Upon retirement, she took care of family members and enjoyed her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Keyser was a member of the Immaculate Conception Church (MBIC); the Catholic Daughter Court Regina Pacis Court #1372, who named her Catholic Daughter of the Year 1987; and a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.

She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 59 years Paul Hill Keyser; her father and mother, George H. Poleman and Dorothy Lawton Poleman; brother, George H. Poleman Jr.; sister-in-law, Marilyn Keyser Williams; maternal grandparents, Dr. E.G. Lawton and Marie Cora Prudhomme Lawton; paternal grandparents, Mayor Theodore Edward Poleman and Maude Bacon Poleman.

She is survived by two daughters, Mary Elizabeth Keyser Dowden and husband Billy and Cheryl Ann Keyser Hennigan and husband Mickey; two sons, Paul Hill Keyser Jr. and wife Lydia and Joe Frederick Keyser and wife Regina; one sister, Mrs. Jane Belknap; and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Honored to serve as pallbearers are Paul Hill Keyser III, Joe Frederick Keyser II, Frederick Dean Keyser, John Pollard Williams, R. Stacy Williams Jr. and George Poleman III.

The family extends profound gratitude to the NNRC staff (special thanks to Judy Sowell and Melody Holmes), the Natchitoches Dialysis staff (deepest appreciation to Jennifer), Dr. Otis Barnum and staff and Dr. Peyman Roohani and the Christus Highland Medical Center staff.

Per Mrs. Keyser’s request, in lieu of flowers, please make donations to her favorite charity: Eternal Word Television Network/EWTN, 5817 Old Leeds Road, Irondale, AL 35210-9768,, or toll free, 1-800-447-EWTN (3986).